Hand-dyed tulle skirt, hand-cut sequin detail on sleeves and hem. Photography by Steve Alkok
The convenience of fast fashion subverts couture under the guise of a harmless, more affordable, alternative. And if you’re poor but fashionable, fast fashion is talking to you. Tuesday evening at Breeyn McCarney‘s VESSEL show, fashion polemics were kindly left at the door.
Lace bustier with full tulle skirt under-dress, brocade wrap-over dress. Over-dress
hand-painted by Irena Komadinic. Photography by Steve Alkok.
We were here to see beautiful dresses like perusing an art gallery on a Sunday afternoon. It was a display, una mostra, and we were spectators, not buyers. This is probably why Breeyn chose not to show at WMCFW – too commercial, too Mimran, too….
Vessel takes its inspiration from the human heart. Breeyn paired up with Canadian artist, Irena Komadinic, to merge painting with sartorial labour. Most impressive was a leather corset that had Komadinic’s signature flower design hammered into it and then hand-painted.
Irena Komadinic painting
Irena’s flower design hammered into leather by Breeyn, then painted by Irena.
Brocade pencil skirt. Photography by Steve Alkok.
Fabrics were luxe and varying. Silk, mohair, wool, satin, organza, lace, tool and leather were craftily combined resulting in one-of-a-kind pieces that won’t be reproduced for the mass market. They stay couture. They remain art.
Like hearts, blood red and pink were the only colours to stain the all-white canvas. Some of the colouring came in the form of oversized sequins, which was totally breathtaking. Reds also permeated the collection by hand-dying and colour washes, often exposed like a suture on a gaping wound. It was beautiful.
Dress hand-painted. Sequins hand-cut and stitched. Photography by Steve Alkok.
A stand-out piece for me was the hand-knit dress with the most unpredictable structure. It’s mechanics are a mystery to me.
If you try to critique this collection through the lens of commercialism, it fails. A few pieces are what industry pundits would call ‘wearable’, and even then, the hand-painted craftsmanship is lost to safe design. The unwearable pieces were most beautiful and would receive the most finger-wagging - a tulle skirt with nothing underneath? You might as well be Adrian Wu’s bare bum and call it a day.
In my opinion a dress should know no boundaries, and for the most part, Vessel shored up all of my expectations.
Dress hand-knit by Breeyn McCarney. Photography by Steve Alkok.
Silk/mohair yarn applied to mesh. Tulle under-dress. Photography by Steve Alkok.
Hand-painted duchess satin. Photography by Steve Alkok.