Posts Tagged ‘red dress’

Chic Chicago attracted primarily women.  But it was also an occasion for a few males.   I drew exactly ten men in dresses during those ten months.   Six of these chose the red dress.  Now, the red dress was a slinky thing in silk crepe and you could wear it like a major expression of your inner lady-in-red, or you could regard it as useless feminine yardgoods.  A couple of casual conversational exchanges with the gentleman revealed to me which category I was dealing with: he was either gay, or so straight that this silliness didn’t faze him at all.

Because of the setting—a book store in a museum!—I couldn’t go wild with this work.  But when Wayne from Montana sat down and asked me to draw him in the red dress, I knew he was egging me on to come up with something.  Hey, full frontal nudity, fine with me, go for it.  Right, Wayne, I can do that at 11:00 p.m. at some party where the shoes and ties came off an hour ago, but not here in this pristine, sun-drenched tourist spot that takes itself verrrry seriously.

—————————————So, I did my loincloth compromise.  Still pretty funny.  His wife Ruby responded with an expression of tolerance.  But he loved it…may well have been the highlight of his day.



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Chic Chicago: The Red Dress

Chic Chicago ran from September 2008 to June 2009.  In those ten months I probably drew three hundred to four hundred visitors, every one of them wearing one of the gowns in the exhibit.  By far, the most popular dress was the red evening gown from 1938, a design attributed to the French designer Marcelle Chaumont.  It had been worn by Mrs. Howard Linn, née Lucy McCormick Blair before she donated it to the Chicago History Museum.

A long strip of fabric (silk crepe) threads itself over the left shoulder, down to the right thigh, around the back, and back up to the shoulder.  Along this route a thin loop could be slipped through a finger of the left hand, allowing the wearer to ham it up when making an entrance.  Strike that, strike “ham it up.”  Let’s say, the Lady in Red made an entrance.  At any rate, that’s the only way I could imagine this dress. Entering and, maybe waltzing.

It was the dream dress of ten-year-olds and grandma’s; of the thin and the plump; of a shrink and a house cleaner; of Muslim and Moody Bible Christian.  I’ll show a few of those happy ladies in red here.

But, what is it about a red dress, exactly?  Has anyone made a study of its drop-dead allure?




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