Imagine Susan Sarandon and Brooke Shields in Babyface clad in heat soaked, antique shaded, sheer and slinky slips. Add a dose of Avril Lavigne’s punk princess pink with skull and cross bone accessories and you have an idea of the beauty, sexiness, and rock ‘n roll sensibility of Dahlia Drive.
Designer Wendy Van Riesen uses antique slips to make one-of-a-kind dresses that peel back the layers of femininity. The soft edges of lace and sweetheart necklines are dyed and silk screened with stark white pelvis and back bones. It’s her signature motif that shows a woman’s beauty from the inside out, literally.
“I’m focused on resurrecting the fashion wasteland,” says Wendy. “There are so many clothes in this world that even charity shops need to sell their excesses. I take those unwanted pieces and find their story.”
The story may include cigarette burns (darling not in bed), rust stains, and rips. These become elements of beauty under the workmanship of Wendy. She builds on the rust, burying the material under bed springs in her backyard and then layering colours and graphics. Rips and burns are stitched together to give a texture to the material or covered over with appliqués. Eventually each resurrected slip has a Dahlia Drive story and it’s one that everyone will want to hear.
For fall the slips can embrace ballet sweetness with leg warmers and a soft cropped wrap sweater or the military trend by layering sharp edged blazers with rough hewn scarves, opaque tights, and heavy boots. Always art inspired, Dahlia Drive resurrects the fashion wasteland no matter the season.