Last Thursday found several Sasaki interior designers on the runway for the 2012 IIDA New England Fashion Show and Benefit Gala at the Boston Convention Center. The IIDA Fashion Show gives the industry a break from the built environment to support a great cause. This year's beneficiary is Team Impact, a non-profit chartered to improve the quality of life for children facing life-threatening illnesses. We caught up with Janine Byrne post-show to chat about Sasaki's entry and the inspiration behind it.
Q: Each year, the IIDA Fashion Show creates a theme with inherent duality expressed through a play on words. Past themes include Revolution and Iconography. How did you interpret this year's Audacity?
A: The audacity of being two-faced drove our design concept. Originally inspired by the Ghandi quote, "I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. They are so unlike your Christ," we took the spirit of this comment and searched for individuals who embody this behavior. Our list of examples started with religious figures then moved beyond the faith-based to include politicians, entertainers, celebrities, athletes, etc.
Q: During the show, Sasaki's introduction states, "Someone here is a two-faced liar. You say one thing but do another. And what's inside doesn't match the surface. If you're gonna be two-faced, at least make one of them pretty..." How did Sasaki's entry convey this message?
A: We wanted our entry to draw a lot of attention, so we created a giant mask in the form of an overly-traditional, overly-decorated dress. It is the centerpiece of our concept and is deliberately oversized. It glides in a frozen, almost machine-like way. Because it is capable of standing on its own, the inner core and outer shell interact with one another, representing the way that the public cover and private life are in conflict, especially in a two-faced being. The model in the shell also wears an electronic mask. She is literally two-faced in that her face is covered by an electronic one. Digital images of who could be wearing the dress flash across the screen, showing two versions of each hypocrite's face.
Accompanying the dress are two escorts who act as puppeteers. Their goal of achieving ratings or viewers or votes or drugs or wins or press coverage represents the part of the machine that drives the need for a branded public image.
At the core is the inner dress. This clean, simple, classical pillar without ornamentation represents our hope that deep down people are actually pure and good and able to break away from the machine.
Q: This event is a great opportunity for Sasaki designers to collaborate in a unique way with product vendors. Who did Sasaki team with this year and how did you use their materials?
A: Global Furniture, Momentum Textiles, and Peabody Office were fantastic teammates. All four dresses are structured looks made from upholstery fabric. The traditional centerpiece is bold and colorful. It moves on casters and features gold embellishments made from mechanical pieces used to fabricate chairs. The puppeteers wear a dark, modern look made from strips upholstery fabric pieced together. Their jewelry is woven from the same mechanical pieces found on the large dress. The sleek pillar dress that emerges at the end of the performance looks is upholstery that looks like satin. Each dress stands strong on its own, but when placed together, they convey the audacity of hypocrisy.