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Peace on Earth:
Parachute Dress Coat

Sally Lee wafta twenty five + image

Techniques: Patternmaking, screen printing, machine stitch
Materials: Russian linen, Chinese cotton velvet
Dimensions (cms): H – 110, W – 60, D – 5
Photographer: Darren Mok

The Russian Constructivism period marked great change with the birth of aeroplanes and a new birds’ eye view of the earth from above. Enamoured by the drawings of costume designer Alexandra Exter, the graphic propaganda of Alexander Rodchenko and the heart of Gleb Kotelnikov, who designed the safety parachute after witnessing an airman fall to his death in St. Petersburg.

This somewhat functional laboratory coat explores what is to me, the elegant algebra of the parachute formula and aerial photography. A photograph taken flying into Krakow shows long paddocks for growing vegetables behind tiny villages. An eye chart-like ensemble of salient Russian sayings spoke to me during the process, forming a brief poem. The coat evolved with print and pattern making, the textures of Russian linen tea towels and Chinese cotton velvet and hand finishing.

Although extraordinary developments in technology and innovation occurred, many lives were lost during this dynamic period, with estimates of up to 20 million people. Many of these were peasant farmers who knew their land, but starved under the centralised direction of the new regime. With this in mind, the recurring message to me, and seemingly necessary propaganda for our world, was Peace on Earth.

I’ve always loved theatrical clothing, exploration and lateral thinking. Researching and translating a concept to integrate sometimes complex ideas into the wearable form as a fashion student is surprisingly sustaining. An interplay of expression with design discernment applies art theory, drawing, print, medicinal plant dyeing, pattern making and final construction.

Wafta twentyFIVE + crossover
on-line catalogue

includes essay by Erin Coates, Wafta history, images and statements from artists on the 42 art-works exhibited

wafta exhibition catalogue