Best Women’s Wear Designer: Mark Mitchell

In the past, Mark Mitchell’s designs have been over-the-top fabulous and flirtatious, borrowing concepts from his costuming education and background. With layers of tulle, yards of satin, massive feather accents, boldly girlish colors, and curve-hugging silhouettes, Mitchell’s work looks like a showgirl’s dream closet. With the same dedication to embellishment and attention to detail, Mitchell embarked in a new direction this year, shifting the focus of his craft to clothing for the dead, whether women, men, or children. Mitchell’s most recent collection, aptly titled Burial, began with an urn made of 275 pieces of hand-dyed silk for Lundgren Monuments’ “Softer Side of Death” show, and evolved into a nine-piece collection of ensembles painstakingly created as tributes to the people who will wear them. Every item is unique, created with one specific person, one specific body, in mind. Using traditional techniques, including a lot of handwork, and favoring fabrics known for their biodegradable properties, each piece is a meditative expression of a life lost. The Burial collection will make its debut on live models on September 20, with a subsequent four-week exhibition at the Frye Art Museum.

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