Art of fashion

Multicolored dress by Michael Drummond

By Sarah Weinman

[Editor’s note: Jewish Light arts blogger Sarah Weinman is gallery manager for the Regional Arts Commission.]

Though I’m not a fashionista by any means, I still found plenty to like in the exhibition DRESSED at the Regional Arts Commission.  Michael Drummond, star of Project Runway, put curated the exhibition which features his work and  and the work of St. Louis designers Marie McInerney, Laura Kathleen (also a Project Runway participant), Deborah Pontious, and Bob Trump.


The gallery show includes a good mix of conceptual and wearable pieces centered around the themes of clothing as protection; meticulousness; and messages that clothing sends other people.

Marie McInerney’s Cilicium (a metallic silk organza and horsehair dress) embodies an unexpected mix of beauty, protection, and detailed handiwork.  Black horsehair weaves throughout the organza, and black and white horsehair falls from the hem.  McInerney’s garments (the corset is also titled Cilicium) imply spiritual protection, reminiscent of hair shirts that saints wore.  They submitted their will to God and gained divine protection.

Bob Trump’s incredible handmade biker garments are wearable and yet display as much skill as those of McInerney.  Head Draper at Opera Theatre of St. Louis and a highly talented designer, Trump creates these garments for himself and does not sell them.  His complete outfits include leather jackets with specially designed patches that say things like Classic Biker Trash and Hoosier Daddy; jeans; and leather chaps.  Trump’s pieces provide literal protection from the elements while he rides his motorcycle.

We see the influence of street fashion in Michael Drummond’s work as well.  He uses leather, nylon, and cotton to create tunics and form-fitting blouses and leggings which evoke Japanese streetwear and 1990s hip-hop culture.

Laura Kathleen’s designs pair well with Drummond’s.  She works with black neoprene to create high-fashion dresses with decorative black stitching.  Her jewelry line, Love Armour, features metal cuffs and necklaces in brass and stainless steel.  The name of Kathleen’s line, the materials she uses, and the form of the accessories recall armor of the ancient world. 

Deborah Pontious also draws on the very ancient world to explore messages that fashion sends to others.  In order to create the garment Willendorf, she first overlaid a “little black dress” with a tunic.  On the tunic she embroidered an image of the Woman of Willendorf, a stone fertility figure created about 25,000 years ago.  In her statement, Pontious explains that her designs are “a nod to the ever-changing ideal of a woman’s form and our obsession with it.”

DRESSED is on view through June 15 at the Gallery at the Regional Arts Commission, located at 6128 Delmar Blvd. in the Loop.  Gallery hours are Monday – Friday, 10:00am – 5:00pm; Saturday, 12:00 – 5:00pm; and closed on Sunday.  For more information, call 314-863-5811 or visit