Runway Challenge @ Danbury Fair Mall



Danbury’s Jane Herschlag creates a wedding gown out of recycled items that are ten to seventy years old.  A twelve-year-old drapery panel with valance forms the basic gown, a ten-year-old lace shower curtain (plastic liner excised) is the removable bridal train, a five-year-old lace panel provides the romance for the removable bridal veil.  Omit train and veil, an evening gown remains.  With this new identity all the fabrics are essentially recycled again.  The elegance imparted to both gowns is achieved by using bits of lace that are at least half a century old,  given to Jane by a retired seamstress who had removed them from garments that she had once altered.  An antique lace collar, used as a waistband, conceals the ribbon to which Jane attached strands of pearlized discs from a beaded curtain, previously used by her to decorate Anthony’s Lake House Restaurant for a fund raiser for the Land Trust of Danbury—see photo #2. 

Designing these two garments took hours of planning.  The biggest challenge was to make something that Jane could create in front of the Danbury Fair Mall audience in one hour.  At home, she practiced making the garment numerous times to develop the swiftest approach, then wrote out a numbered list of steps to follow, so as not to forget anything.  No sewing and no straight pins were permitted.  This required design skills that used non-traditional ways of assembling clothes and inspired innovative ideas.  Creating a head on which to display the bridal veil took many tries.  Jane ended up painting an Edamame container, painting a face on it, and cutting the fake hair from a Halloween witch’s costume.  To accommodate the length of the veil she placed the head on a tall candleholder frame.


Three contestants are selected for the Runway Challenge