My plaster bust costumes have finally hit the 20th century! The 'New Look', created by Christian Dior in the late 1940s was the inspiration for
Demoiselle D. Looking at Dior designs of this period - the outfits and hats together - I was struck by how sculptural they are and I can't believe that he didn't conceive the whole look of each costume as a three-dimensional form. The extreme simplicity of the shapes helped make them absoultely iconic designs.
The plaster cast just out of the mould with 'flashing' still attached.
A signature shape of Dior's 'New Look' are the huge 'coolie' style hats which I've always loved. I wasn't at all sure whether I'd be able to create this shape in plaster, thinking the edges might snap off as they are so thin but in fact it worked perfectly, partly thanks to the extremely hard, strong plaster I use. I was thrilled when I pulled the first cast from the mould.
During my research I came across a fantastic take on a Dior dress re-visited by Galliano. I couldn't resist having a go at recreating the pleated bodice.
The building on the hat is a souvenir from Pisa - the Leaning Tower (of course) and some churches. The mini scale of the architecture is funny in contrast to the massive scale of the hat!
Pulling the cast from the silicone mould
It was very hard making the hat (which as usual was constructed from real materials and fabrics) and particularly difficult to place it firmly at the correct angle. It was vital for it to tip forward and half obscure the face - just as in those amazing photos of the likes of Audrey Hepburn peering out from under the brim of wonderful, huge Dior hats.
Making a silicone mould of the original sculpture
Unfortunately the original sculpture broke in half at the neck when I pulled off the silicone mould - the hat stuck out so far and the silicone was really clinging to it meaning I had to yank really hard to release the mould from the textured fabric of the sculpture. Luckily the mould turned out fine so it didn't really matter that the original got broken. That's just the way it goes in all these processes - it's not a perfect science.
Pulling back the silicone from the plaster cast
I try hard to give these sculptures a personality, through stance and mood, so that they become almost real characters. But that's the thing about sculpture anyway - three dimensional objects have a strong, real presence which is simply missing from two-dimensional art work from my point of view.
Demoiselle D is the first of my 20th Century-style busts but I've just finished another which I'll be featuring in a couple of weeks.
To see the background to other busts in the collection go to the side bar 'List of posts'
You can see the finished collection on my website