One shot at cre­at­ing the per­fect look

Stratford Press - - Front Page -

They say if looks could kill, and for lo­cal artist Karyn McCul­lough, it was a look that took out the com­pe­ti­tion and won the Open Re­cy­cled cat­e­gory at the Taranaki Fash­ion Art Awards.

Karyn’s award-win­ning en­try in the awards was also awarded the Run­ner-Up Supreme ti­tle, cho­sen from a to­tal of 117 en­tries.

Karyn’s cre­ation, ti­tled Dressed To Kill, was made up of just un­der 3000 shot­gun cases, which she has been col­lect­ing for more than eight years.

Karyn says she first had the idea for cre­at­ing a dress out of shot­gun cases about 10 years ago, and then started slowly col­lect­ing the cases over the next few years.

Friends saved their spent cases for her, while an­other friend swept the floor at a lo­cal pis­tol club to re­trieve 22 cases for her to use to cre­ate ac­ces­sories for the out­fit.

With her col­lec­tion of shot­gun cases grow­ing steadily, Karyn started putting se­ri­ous thought into her plan, and her daugh­ter Melissa of­fered to be the model. At the start of 2018, with Melissa in her fi­nal year of high school, Karyn re­alised she was about to lose her model to uni­ver­sity and so only had one shot at en­ter­ing. Karyn says she thinks she spent around 200 hours on the project from start to fin­ish, which in­cludes time for mak­ing ad­just­ments to en­sure the weight of the dress and train was as evenly dis­trib­uted as pos­si­ble.

The bodice is cov­ered with the metal end of the cases while the skirt fea­tures colour-co­or­di­nated whole cases at­tached in rows. The train con­sists of 938 cases with most of the metal ends re­moved to lighten the load. Later in the process, when she re­alised the weight was drag­ging the dress down too far, Karyn re­moved two com­plete rows of ‘bul­lets’ and re-hemmed the re­cy­cled dress to suit Melissa’s height.

A real am­mu­ni­tion belt and a replica ri­fle com­plete the out­fit along with a bracelet, ear­rings and neck­lace also made from bul­let cases.

The en­tire out­fit was made from re­cy­cled ma­te­rial, right down to a gifted stylish hat and sec­ond hand shoes.

Al­though the dress and train weighed 8kg, Melissa says due to the weight be­ing evenly dis­trib­uted, it wasn’t no­tice­able. She thor­oughly en­joyed the ex­cite­ment, from the three dress re­hearsals to the big night, and rev­elled in each grand en­trance as the dress sounded like bam­boo wind chimes with ev­ery step she took.

Karyn (right) with daugh­ter Melissa mod­el­ling the win­ning en­try.

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