I had the honor of being asked to participate in this year's fourteenth annual Chocolate Fashion Show. I've done the show once before, creating a Chocolate Villainess in 2008. Clad in a chocolate bikini, the piece was simple yet delightful. You never knew what was going to melt away.
This year's theme was an Ode to Broadway. I had the privilege of working with the wonderful costume designer, Anita Yavich (Venus in Fur, Anna in the Tropics), representing David Henry Hwang's new hit play Chinglish. The comedy is about an American businessman who goes to China to pitch a business proposition but runs into linguistic and cultural mistranslations.
Inspired by the play's depiction of the United States' marginalization of Chinese culture, Anita and I decided to modernize the classic Chinese dress, the Cheongsam. Elegant and long, this gown has evolved over the years to reflect contemporary tastes, and is often worn for more formal events, even as wedding dresses.
The tight, form fitting silhouette was kept the same, but a defining slit brought up the center of the dress, allowed for a sexy reveal. The dress became backless to heighten the long collar and verticality of the outfit.
For the chocolate part, the dress was sequenced with hundreds of gold dusted white chocolate flowers and garnished with a series of large, red-lustered frog fasteners, running down the center. A Miao Chinese style necklace and bracelet was built to contrast the fiery red dress. As with any Cheongsam, the more accessories there are, the better the look. The final piece added was a chocolate headpiece made in the shape of the Chinese symbol for longevity, shou.
It was a wonderful experience to participate in the show. It's an unusual opportunity to collaborate with another artist, merging two crafts to make something extraordinary. This was definitely not an ordinary day in the kitchen.
Special thanks to the costume tailor, John Kristiansen, and our model, Saskia Slaaf, for all their hard work and contributions.