Courtesy of LaceHanky Photography
You'd expect condoms at a Planned Parenthood event, but maybe not on the runway.
The finale for the organization's recent Ready or Hot fashion show at Aria in Minneapolis was an ethereal Joynoelle dress, hand-stitched with 1,000 condoms. Non-lubricated. It was exquisite.
Show producer Grant Whittaker commissioned the dress from Joynoelle's Minneapolis-based designer Joy Teiken, who is best known for her romantic custom wedding gowns. She took to the unusual challenge with a calm certainty that would make the best Project Runway contestant—or biggest playboy—envious.
"I make about 30 custom wedding dresses a year, and I used condoms for this gown like I'd use fabric for my bridal gowns," Teiken says. Rows of rubbers were sewn onto strips of fabric as well as an understructure for the skirting. Some were tied to resemble hand-stitched flowers for the bodice. The dress took about six hours to complete. An unexpected bonus to this project: "My interns and I are now very good at quickly unwrapping and unrolling condoms," Teiken says.
But there's no time to, er, test drive. In addition to spring and summer wedding clients, Teiken is finishing up a ready-to-wear collection that she plans to show at the end of April. She says it's inspired by the concept of clothing as body armor—"the protection and perception of inner self to the outside world." So really, working with condoms was perfectly on-trend.