reflection by Maacah Davis
photos by Rebecca Jurgens
"Southern fashion--isn't that an oxymoron?" An Alabama store owner joked when I asked why he carried so many magazines about southern living, southern cooking, southern weddings, etc, but absolutely none about Southern fashion.
As Birmingham's first fashion magazine, and currently the only magazine of its kind in the state of Alabama, belladonna magazine is committed to creating and showcasing a new vision for Alabama's fashion identity, and Southern fashion identity at large, which is why we were thrilled to present A New Classic: the fashion exhibit that opened Design Week Birmingham 2015. I invited four Alabama-based designers to create dramatic and avant-garde collections, around which a gallery-worthy exhibit would be designed, to "explore the romantic, natural, and Gothic capacities of the Southern identity, and imagine them as: a New Classic." Designers Saige Piglrim, Jan King, Summer Crook, and Tyler Sanford completely delivered.
Set designer Ali Ribe led Ginny Henry and Caitlin Lawson to outfit the Blueprint Building to match the artists' garments and inspirations (points if you noticed that Saige's room was inspired by John Collier's painting of the Oracle at Delphi!). Savannah and Austin Kilpatrick, of Bushel&Peck, provided the dramatic floral accentuation. Models Sarah Patton and Alexandrina Williams [literally] brought the exhibit to life, with Sarah wearing wings that were custom-built and articulated by UAB student Kelsey Templeton, and Alexandrina wearing jewelry and a dress designed by Saige Pilgrim.
Also noteworthy is the way that the team of designers and architects who comprise the Design Week Birmingham committee completely transformed the raw, barren space of the Blueprint Building into a space that people couldn't stop talking about. Knowing what the building looked like beforehand made the countless requests to rent it as a venue all the more amusing. They did such an amazing job with the transformation that we were sad to see it all go down. We are so honored that they not only gave us full creative control over A New Classic, but also let us open the entire week.
The amount of talent involved in the production of not only this exhibit, but the entirety of Design Week Birmingham 2015, is the reason I get so excited about the future in store for belladonna. We're on the cusp of something amazing, and I'm so ready for this journey in the city I've come to call home. Thank you to all of the artists, designers, bloggers, and style gazers who turned up to be a part of the magic of the Magic City.