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All Walks Beyond the Catwalk


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Claire Ferguson, Double Exposure, 2014. Pima cotton and monofilament with Sophie Hallette lace.

Collection of the artist, Edinburgh.

Image (c) Claire Ferguson

Claire Ferguson, Double Exposure, 2014.


Drawn to the silhouette of Renaissance dress, and how its distinctive lines were accentuated within portraiture during this time,  Claire was inspired by the portraits of Mary Queen of Scots and Lady Arabella Stuart to explore body size, line and fabric.  Creating two dresses in one, the lace dress represents the contemporary shape and the knitted outer dress fuses a historically-inspired silhouette with a fine cotton innovative ribbed-like structure.  


The two silhouettes of the dress interact with one another through their outline, scale, texture and space.  As it has no size the viewer is asked to question their own notions of body shape and size.  The knitted dress encloses the lace dress at the waist, highlighting the proportions of the fashionable female figure during the Renaissance and the moulding of clothes to the body. The two can only be appreciated when observed as one.


The challenge was to bring transparency and lightness to the knitted dress, creating a fabric which had structure and flexibility, allowing it to be worked into defined shapes, emphasising the shoulders and the waist.  The knitted fabric has been created on a hand operated Stoll V-bed flat knitting machine, the stitch construction takes inspiration from the ruffs worn during the time.  Lace during the Renaissance was customarily used for collars and details, here the Sophie Hallette lace intrinsically links the past to the now.  The lace has been constructed into a voluminous contemporary dress allowing the motif to be appreciated on a larger scale and blurred in areas with the gossamer effect of the knit on top.