Like a gateway drug between the art-heavy era of the TBA Festival segueing into fashion season, a show this week featuring the work of Rio Wrenn straddles both worlds. Originally known primarily as a textile designer, Wrenn began making lingerie several years ago with her R.A.W. line, blending experiments in intentional rusting and naturally blended dyes to create fine, and truly unique pieces. On the runway, her work tends toward drama, and this week sees a fashion show, in collaboration with Ruth Waddy and Laura Page, called Pre-Soiled Culture alongside Wrenn's art show Collections on view now at Disjecta.
MERCURY: Tell me about your art show, and how the clothing you're showing relates to it.
RIO WRENN: The art show uses things I've been collecting that used to have a purpose or use, and are now discarded. The fashion show has that same thought in mind—be it a bird's nest, plant matter, tea bags, bottle caps, or metal objects, there are tons of things that can be used.
What were your starting points this time around? Will we be seeing any new directions or experiments?
The fashion show has nine looks by me, seven looks by Ruth Waddy, and one from Laura Page. There are other great artists collaborating as well, with headpieces and jewelry from Heather Bromer, Treigh Love, and Deanna Bredthauer. My looks are like a timeline from current to Victorian and all the inspirations in between. Each look has [its] own personality, but the use of materials ties it all together. Ruth's looks are inspired by the Pleiades star cluster. I'm [using] some new techniques, and merging some I've done before in a visual art setting. Just the mix of using cottons and synthetics from the different base fabrics that I've found is a fun challenge, but I do have a few silk things thrown in.
How are things progressing with the R.A.W. studio/boutique?
I'm still marketing my ass off, but think I might have to "bring it" on another platform to gain buyer confidence. I've been recently invited to show at several fashion weeks and hope to make it to New York in February... I have a few things up my sleeve.
What are you drawn to this season, personally?
I don't really think of my collection in seasons, partly due to the fact that it's lingerie. I like that freedom. Currently I'm drawn to sheers like chiffons and light, airy fabrics. A more romantic look may enter the collection. I'm going to be doing more shibori patterns [An extremely labor-intensive Japanese dyeing technique—Ed.], and I do have a sudden fascination with pleats. (Pre-Soiled Couture: A Recycled Fashion Event, Disjecta, 8371 N Interstate, Sat Sept 18, 8 pm; R.A.W. Studio, 529 NE Couch)