The most beautiful challenge in patternmaking, from my perspective, is in complex geometry and in thinking about how separate pieces fit together or relate to one another. I began this outfit with the skirt, my objective being to capture the stately triangular points of traditional Burmese pagoda roofs. I often think of the visceral center of the body as being the stomach, the place where one feels the butterflies of excitement, the churn of anxiety or the warm glow of love. For this reason, I wanted the outfit to radiate out in a spiral from the abdomen. I turned the temple roof upside-down, and cocked it to an asymmetrical angle to create radial undulation from the central axis.
The arches of the mid-sections adorning the vest further evoke the Burmese Buddhist pagoda theme by mimicking arched doorways. The white acrylic paint on the gold silk of the jacket mid-sections speak of the tumultuous state of the heroin trade in Burma, from which even the government profits, heroin being Burma’s primary export. Unfortunately, in this industry poppy farmers become addicted from mere contact with the “latex,” the white sap from poppy fruit pods. The paint is splattered in a chaotic manner on the vest as my political statement against the instability of this system.
The tribe I researched for this ensemble was the Pyu, from Myanmar, Burma. The gold pearls punctuating the jacket mid-sections imitate the Deep Gold Pearl, the most precious of all Myanmar pearls, which is only found in the Myanmar Andaman Sea.
The outfit’s title, Pyat That, is Burmese for “tiered pagoda roof.”