FSF Scholar Gina Schiappacasse, Spirited Magazine #4

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Spirited Mag.#4: “Plastic City”

Congratulations on the gorgeous spread in Spirited magazine. What do you call these “headpieces” and what’s the story behind them?

Thank you! I’ve started referring to the pieces as headdresses, as they aren’t so much hats, but headpieces inspired thoughts of toupees, which definitely wasn’t it either. I first started making them as projects for class while finishing my undergrad at University of Madison Wisconsin. They were originally intended to be accessories for my clothing for runway shows and photo-shoots. I love creating all elements of an outfit myself; it gives you the ability to create exactly the look you envision. Ironically, however, the pieces often overshadowed the clothing, and I had more positive responses to the headdresses. So I decided to invest more time in exploring the concept and experimenting with different media.

I love the Roman and Aviation-themed influences.  Seems like the aesthetic spans many periods… where do you draw inspiration?

A lot of the inspiration has been taken from historical head-wear that pre-dates the more modern hat (helmets, crowns, armor), and more ancient forms of head ornamentation. But, yes, definitely with a more modern twist (as in the aviator’s cap). I’m fascinated by the juxtaposition of different cultural forms of armor, or protection, with hyper-feminine elements, as in the flowers. I think it’s been my attempt to process the concept of war, emasculating it, so to speak, which is certainly not a new idea in the world of fashion. It’s really incredible, historically, how much detail and craftsmanship have gone into creating protective gear for battle. Ironic, to create something so beautiful for a destructive purpose. Not to mention that sometimes the fashion world, itself, can feel like a battlefield.

Any thoughts for future pieces?

Lately I’ve been working more with leather and, more specifically, on leather harnesses, to shake it up a bit. I’m also preparing to learn a bit of hat-blocking and more traditional millinery techniques to add to the mix. Finally, I’m currently obsessing over traditional Native American Indian headdresses and breast-plates, so I guess we’ll see where the strange mix of those elements take me!


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