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Filmstrip Dresses

Judy Garland     |     Marilyn Monroe     |     Audrey Hepburn

Marilyn Monroe was the first filmstrip dress completed in the collection. Created for an Experimental Practices course, the project was crafted as an exploration of filmstrip as a physical medium rather than a projected media. It quickly changed into a learning experience about Marilyn the icon, as well as the woman behind the scenes, Norma Jean. Braden created the dress to the appropriate measurements and height of Marilyn at the time of filming The Seven Year Itch (1955) which initially inspired the project. The image of Marilyn with her dress blowing over the subway grate has remained one of the most, if not the most, iconic images in pop culture, Hollywood, and film history.


The Marilyn dress quickly gained traction after Braden reached out to multiple news sources, and obtained the copyright certificate. After being showcased in Vancouver, it caught the attention of The Hollywood Museum in Los Angeles where it was featured in Marilyn: The Exhibit (2015) alongside the star’s costumes, clothing, and personal belongings.


The success of the Marilyn dress inspired Braden’s grad project at Emily Carr University where he completed two more dresses for the series: Judy Garland, and Audrey Hepburn.


Using the same techniques and studies from the Marilyn dress, this series’ focus was about how unrealistic beauty standards are, how they have changed over time, and most importantly learning about the woman who wore these iconic dresses.


Judy Garland’s dress is a recreation of Dorothy’s blue gingham dress from The Wizard of Oz (1939), and Audrey Hepburn’s is a recreation of Holly Golightly’s black Givenchy dress from Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961) – both made to the measurements and height of the actresses in the same way that Marilyn’s was.


Since using filmstrip was the structural component of the dresses, LED lights were used to illuminate them from within. As a reference not only to the technology of film projection, the light inside the dresses also represents the women who wore them and how they were the true shining stars within their iconic costumes.

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