Xinwei (Clara) Zhang

Armor Elements on Women’s Wear

Class of: 2024

Major: Fashion Design BFA

Medium: Paper

Faculty: Cynthia Elmas

Prompt: This assignment requires us to develop a research paper based on a pairing chosen from The Costume Institute's 2020 exhibition. The focus is on how the research developed from the pairing and inspired our designs for Studio Bridge 4, the iteration of the pairing.

The Evening Jacket designed by Elsa Schiaparelli in 1938 is an elegant evening suit that incorporates armor elements. The “Broken Mirrors” Ensemble from Yves Saint Laurent in 1978 further explores the armor elements by its exaggeration of the wavy mirror pattern. This inspired me to research the topic of how armor elements were incorporated in women’s wear in the 1900s. This paper illustrates my creative decision throughout the iteration process for Studio Bridge 4 with a detailed explanation of how armor elements expanded the personal values and characters of women. My research also conveys how designers could use visual languages to spread their perception to the society, and point out the unequalized and unjustified social beliefs. My design of the ensemble pieces continues this line of thinking through its reconstruction of the original pairing, with my understanding of the body armor.