Saturday, 20 February 2010

Ninety Eight Percent

In another show of unexpected materials Adriana Bertini's dresses showcase one of the weirder material choices - hundreds of condoms.

Don't worry, these prophylactics are of the unused variety, Bertini uses the ones which aren't at a high enough standard to pass stringent quality control tests and therefore cannot be distributed to the public. Dyed a myriad of colours, twisted, stretched and shaped, her "condom couture" as she calls it, are pieced together to create dresses which both highlight the material used in almost comic fashion and gowns which completely eradicate all resemblance to the preventative.

Her clothing range, which is more a statement meant to be displaced than worn, was inspired by her work volunteering for an Aids prevention charity over a decade ago. Its intent to convey the message that "condoms must be basic like a pair of jeans and so necessary like a great love." - Adriana Bertini

So..."no glove, no love."

Sometimes the most unexpected materials can really surprise you. I remember in College, one of our first weeks, we went to the student fair, where they try to recruit you for everything going and hand out as much free stuff as they could to entice you. To all students they were handing out bags full of condoms and sexual health information as an aid to educating the new students and preventing the spread of sexually transmitted infections on campus. This was the same day we had a design class in which we had to use found objects...guess what most of the class decided to use?

From the results of that class, I admit I was sceptical when I saw one of Bertini's dresses whilst Googling for unusual design materials. I thought that they would probably just look seedy or be overtly sexual because of the latex connotations. However I admit I was pleasantly surprised. I'm not saying this is a material I'm planning on trying for new jewellery designs, but it just shows you what usual materials designers are trying out.

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