The Ritual of Getting Dressed

Katharine Hepburn: Her spirit of femininity cocooned in a manish suit amplifies her girly grace.

The ritual of getting dressed, down to the color of my panties, is an exercise in self-expression. This daily sacred ceremony falls somewhere within the spectrum of a fight to express stylistic defiance to shameless conformity to my attempt to hide - not one of my most attractive traits.

Designing a dress, however, is a layered, sensual, intellectual and emotional succession of choices. It’s like having a conversation between myself and my heritage, between my personal aesthetic and the cultural imagery around me, between my effort to make magic and my conscious attempt to explore what makes me eccentrically, unique, all with the discipline of not ducking difficulty.

The impulse for designing clothing is my way of refining and trampling the murky boundaries of who I am. For raw material, I draw on my artistic DNA – my mother is a painter, I am a filmmaker, my twin sister has taught me Taoism and life, my children are artists, my hubby is a political animal – all very much a part of my neurology. Stylistically I am on the masculine side of feminine, an unboyish tomboy. I get a buzz, I am beguiled and lured by lush, textured fabrics with structural properties that hug the body like a mitten as opposed to a glove. I wear the clothes and make the clothes for their psychological effect. My effort is to cajole women to wear them for the same reasons that I do; to feel powerful, to be loved, to participate in community and to show up fully in my best second skin in order to build a second nature that surpasses my first.

Designing clothing for me is also making an exuberant political statement. Through my very personal lens of making clothing steeped in one of the most polluting industries on earth, I hope to do my part, by working sustainably and making ethical choices to participate in our planet’s vigor.

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