Wonderland is Helen Storey's latest work. A powerful and collaborative project of shared ideas, symbolic of change, it began with a provocative question posed by Helen to scientist Tony Ryan.
The Disappearing Dresses are the result of a process that began 2 years ago when Helen began talking to scientist Professor Tony Ryan OBE, who is a polymer chemist at the University of Sheffield. Using the symbols of the dissolving dress and other works that have arisen as a result of the collaboration, Wonderland shines light on the wider and much greater issues of sustainability and ethical living. A work perhaps vulnerable to cynicism, it demands and suggests intelligent change through brave collaboration and experiment.
Tony and Helen comment:
Experience shows our enormous potential to think the unimaginable is increased most profoundly in collaboration. We deliberately collided our differently trained minds to specifically address some of the planet's greatest problems - lack of drinking water and non-recyclable plastics. This collision produced a new water purification device and the disappearing plastic bottle amongst other ideas.
We chose dress to manifest our new approach because we wanted to create something beautifully familiar with which to stimulate an emotional connection, particularly here at LCF. To watch a dress, that has taken months to create, disappear in a few days seemed to connect directly to that place of unfathomable loss. We hope this may work as a metaphor for our disappearing world.
Through LCF's new Centres for the Environment and Fashion & Science and under the initiative of Better Lives, this way of collided thinking can become powerfully embedded in the next generation of designers. This is our call to creative arms. We are exploring the power of shared ideas. We all have a duty to use our talents, our imaginations and our rigour to create a healthier planet."
(Above) Photographs by Jon Daughtry at DED Associates.
(Below) The first dress disappearing in the window of the London College of Fashion Gallery on Tuesday 29 January 2008. Photographs by Alex McGuire.