My goal with this collection was to examine the dichotomy between the glamour of 80s French couture and the toxicity of dangerous diseases and microscopic pathogens. In the early 1980s, “Printemps de Paris” set about to establish what would be it’s first and only attempt in North America at opening a franchise of its world-famous department store in my hometown of Denver, Colorado. The project was ambitious, but less than two years after unveiling the dazzling marble staircase modeled after that of Paris’ flagship store, Printemps Denver closed due to a lack of profit and customers. The magnificent building was sold and then leased to a diagnostics company, transforming its’ gilded departments into waiting rooms and laboratories whilst quickly becoming the testing center for a pandemic that would define a decade.
Seeing that the laboratory is still active, this building has always been a sort of shipwreck of glamour to me.
In a world where we are currently in the midst of a deadly and contagious virus, many of us are prioritizing distance and sanitation over beauty and glamour.
Through my design research I have imagined a form of human aposematism; warning signs used by animals through stripes and colors to warn of the level of potent toxins attributed to them by nature. The structures I have knitted conceptualize the protection and warning of exoskeletons in the animal kingdom. With this couture adaptation, why not show you’re toxique without looking incredibly chic.