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A portrait in tulle

Projects | June 1, 2017 | By:

Although it seems to float
effortlessly in the air around the model, this tulle portrait was carefully sewn in place by hand. Photos: Benjamine Shine.

Artist Benjamin Shine is known for creating distinctive pieces using fabric and other unique materials. The British designer, whose great-grandfather was a tailor, started early in the clothing industry working for a fashion company when he was a teenager. That experience sealed his interest in using fabric as a medium.

Shine started working with tulle and explored how he could create a design using a single piece of fabric. He saw the tulle as a substitute for paint and began experimenting with how he could essentially “paint with fabric” by molding it onto a canvas.

Some of his signature creations are portraits out of tulle that capture the essence of figures like Princess Diana and Elizabeth Taylor as well as other iconic individuals.

Shine’s latest effort was on dramatic display during Paris Couture Fashion Week 2017. Designer John Galliano approached him to collaborate on his Maison Margiela Artisanal Show; they worked on developing a tulle portrait for a long Galliano trench coat made of bonded white cotton.

Shine wanted the piece to be fully transparent and yet look as though it was rising like smoke and wrapping around the model. The tulle began as lining beneath the coat and flowed to become the ethereal image of a woman’s face that seemed to float on air. He hand-manipulated and stitched the entire piece to achieve the effect in a process that took more than 300 hours.

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