Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Forget LBD's! Vancouver's Little Green Dress Projekt unveiled at VanDusen Botanical Garden

This is one of the more fun "green" projects that's landed in my email box in some time. Vancouver BC environmental artist Nicole Dextras has created The Little Green Dress Projekt that is part of the Earth Art 2012 exhibit at VanDusen Botanical Garden this summer. The outdoor installation will eventually include 28 organic dresses draped over wooden stands.

The concept evolved out of that longtime fashion adage that harkens back to the 1920s when every woman needed to own a little black dress ... today referred to simply as a LBD. Dextras proposes that instead of having a LBD, why not have at least one item of clothing that's produced in a sustainable and equitable manner? The purpose of her project is to "promote awareness of the impact of industry on our environment and to offer a realistic opportunity for change by creating a demand for better practices through consumer purchasing." To that end, the dresses will be made entirely from organic materials, with the tagline being: Wear it and Compost it!

The 28 dresses will be made from locally sourced leaves and flowers, with the design based on the classic sleeveless dress introduced in the 1960's by designer Coco Chanel. Each dress will be created and built on site for a woman selected for her support and involvement in eco-fashion. The creations will be made for a cross-section of women representing all ages and sizes, from fashionistas to gardeners. Here are some fun facts about The Little Green Dress Projekt:
  • The 28 dresses reflect the lunar cycle
  • Each dress will be designed specifically for the participant's measurements
  • The basic design is a sleeveless, knee-length shift dress
  • The structure for each dress will be made from basketry reed and seagrass
  • Dresses will be covered with plant material reflecting the participant's personality
  • A participant's statement will be displayed along with each dress
  • Vancouver participants will supply their own plant material
  • International participants' dresses will be covered with local plant materials harvested by Dextras
  • It will take hundreds of leaves to complete each dress
  • The dresses will be installed on VanDusen's Great Lawn as they are completed
  • Ms. Dextras will attempt to create one dress a day beginning July 16
  • Each dress will be titled with the participant's first name
  • Each dress will be photographed when complete and left outside to wilt and decompose
  • Progress on the project and photos of each dress will be posted at The Little Green Dress Projekt

First prototype for a dress by Nicole Dextras
Photo courtesy Nicole Dextras