Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The "Dancing Dragon" Chinese Opera Head Dress Created In Celebration Of The "China: Through The Looking Glass" Exhibition in Metroplitan Museum Of Art.

 I have spent last several months completely submerged in extremely intense production schedule working on numerous very exciting projects, editorials, custom orders, new collection and, of course, teaching my Millinery School. Needless to say free time has been a great luxury I can no longer afford and this is exactly the reason as to why I was unable to frequently update my Blog. Today, however, I decided to share with you a very special head dress I named "Dancing Dragon". I have designed this head piece without any particular reason other than to challenge myself in creation of one of the most complicated, intricate head dresses in history of head wear: Chinese Opera Hat. While doing my preliminary research on the history of the magnificent Chinese Opera Headdresses I realized that traditionally all Chinese Opera Headdresses were done out of paper. Paper mache techniques used in creation of this headdresses are necessary to make sure that the weight of the headdress is somewhat manageable. Traditionally Chinese Opera Headdress have an array of different attachments which include suspended attachments of significant weight.
 Taking great concern of the weight issue in consideration I decided to try something extremely unusual - to make an attempt to construct the Chinese Opera Headdress operating Couture Millinery Techniques. Every year Metropolitan Museum Of Art holds a very special highly publicized exhibition focused on one specific theme in Fashion. When it was first announced that this year's Exhibition will be dedicated to Chinese influence in fashion, I though that it would be a great idea to celebrate the opening of the "China: Through The Looking Glass" Exhibit by creating a hat that I have been wanting to create for such a long time.
And so this is how the "Dancing Dragon" head dress came to life. It has been designed and created by me in my Millinery Atelier here in New-York. Just like all of my hats, "Dancing Dragon" hat was created entirely by hand to the highest standard of Couture Millinery. It took 7 weeks of production time. It features hundreds of  Swarovski crystals throughout the surface of the hat. It took over 50 yards of foiled cord to create hand embroidery. 1, 600 yards of pure silk thread were used to create side tassels on the side wings mounted to the hat. Two complicated hard wear attachments were created so that the core of the hat could sustain "side wings" extensions on each side. Very specific types of pom-poms  which, as some of you may know, are the focal point of Chinese opera head gear, have been recreated from boars hair and hand dyed first in ruby and than in fuchsia. This combination was applied to secure a perfect, very rich shade of deep Cardinal Red color. Very intricate spiral wire extensions have been created to hold oversized pearls suspended in the air. The "roof" of the hat has been designed to immolate the outline of Chinese pagoda roof tops. And, of course, golden dragon figure has been placed on top of the roof of the hat. The Dragon is holding  a "pearl of wisdom"  as a symbol of power, strength, and good luck for people who are worthy of it. Every production stage for "Dancing Dragon" head piece has been an experience. I don't think I will ever be able to express tremendous joy I felt once it was finished. :-) "China: Through The Looking Glass" Exhibit will open on May 7th of 2015 in Metropolitan Museum of Art. If you are in New-York I strongly recommend to visit. China has always been and still remains one of the most referred to artistic inspirations for many designers, including yours truly. :-)