Myrna (Lily) Sisson

Coat of Dual Strength

Class of: 2025

Major: Fashion Design BFA

Medium: Pinstripe Armani Wool Suiting, Fuschia Chiffon, Velvet Fuschia Trim, Acrylic

Faculty: Michelle Nahum-Albright

Prompt: Fashion Studio SP22 Bridge 5: Finished Thesis Project - Bridge 5 is the final output related to our selfchosen idea, effort, concept communication, innovation, experimentation, creativity, visual research, and craft explored over bridges 3 and 4, rooted in our class's theme of body covering as identity.

Inspiration derived from power dressing, this is a coat of dual strength: Hard exterior, delicate interior. I am exploring the feminine dichotomy between dressing for symbiotic empowerment, legitimacy, sincerity and even protection, with the rather internal power and strength found in soft, delicate, nurturing femininity. The history of power dressing for all genders displays an exigency to be taken legitimately, using clothing as a way to symbolically display and determine an individual’s wealth, status, or intelligence. Modern office suits and attire have the same symbolic purpose of 15th century suits of armor in royal portraits; they are the uniforms of an official, a form of symbolic legitimacy. For the modern woman, having fought to get into the suit and office, and especially vulnerable in a large city (which raises the point of the urban meaning/usage of the color black/gray), it is imperative she dresses in a way that best suits her professional responsibilities as well as her safety. However, as she may shield the softer parts of herself from the untrusted as not to be a target, it does not invalidate the strength found in the kindness and delicateness and purity of the nurturing maternal feminine soul. I believe both forms of strength co-exist. This structured coat encompasses this harder exterior with a delicate interior, and explores how the two may seep into each other. The hand-painted interior details of the cherry blossoms and koi fish represent this dichotomy. Koi are symbols of perseverance and strength, known for swimming upstream, while the cherry blossom is a symbol of female mystique.