Budding designers display unique garments, ranging from a divorce dress to hat-pants.

Fabrication 

Budding designers display unique garments, ranging from a divorce dress to hat-pants.

Just because Katherine Pope and Heather Nania are into clothes doesn't mean they've been influenced by a lifetime of fashion magazines. ("I just started looking at them," Nania notes.) In fact, they both wear comfortable pants and plain shirts as they work in their mannequin-filled studio, preparing for a May 3 show at The Cube.

They'll be showing forty garments, and because there won't be a runway or flashing lights, the clothing will have to speak for itself. Models will, however, be coiffed by professional stylists and made up by MAC Cosmetics, with ambience added by Brazilian and classical music.

"What I think of when I make my garments is the sensuality of the female form, so I use sensual music," Pope explains. But her fashions aren't necessarily for nubile young lasses awaiting white weddings: Among them is a divorce dress. While most every bride wears a wedding dress, few think to balance things out with an equally ceremonial divorce dress.

The dress is interesting not only for its original concept but also because of the processes involved in its creation. Making garments is a combination of drawing (to make silkscreens and transfer patterns to fabric), photography (to apply the images to the fabric) and painting (to infuse the garments with color). "I actually made a silkscreen of the front page of my divorce papers," Pope says, holding up a brassy brown tank dress -- only up close does the lined pattern look like text on a page. She also printed photographs of raindrops onto the dress "to give it that hazy look."

Pope isn't a pessimist, though. Concluding her half of the presentation will, in fact, be a wedding dress, but not a traditional one. It's still in the making.

With neither a wedding nor a divorce behind her, Nania is more focused on aesthetics than thematics. "I really like creating textures," she explains, displaying a rack of colorful tube-top-like garments ranging from shirts to hats -- which originally were pants that came out too small but "actually work as a hat."

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