Spiders, Salvador Dali Merge to Inspire Rachel Cass’ Collection

March 27th, 2012 by Kristen Foley
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Rachel Cass in the CCAD sewing lab.

Rachel Cass is not one to procrastinate. Last summer she not only chose her muse for her senior thesis, but with her sketch book in hand, she set out on a road trip to New York City and found every single piece of fabric she would later use for her collection. All before classes had officially started.

But, before Rachel took to the road, she researched and uncovered her muse.

“I spent several days in the library digging through different images of some of the paintings that I was in love with and I kept coming across Salvador Dali,” she remembers. The bigger challenge was the second half of the assignment—finding a sculptor of the same era as a second muse. “I just didn’t know who to pair him with because he’s such a different artist, especially with his use of surrealism with color and shape.”

She finally stumbled upon the massive spider sculptures of Louise Bourgeois and found that the armature nature of the spiders were the connection and final key that she needed.

The result includes soft smooth lines, combined with hard angles and structure to form a new mix of lounge ware.

“It’s somewhere between lingerie, lounge, and ready-to-wear,” notes Rachel. “These designs create a true mix-and-match collection, which allow you to feel sexy, sophisticated, and comfortable.”

With muse in mind, it was time for the road trip. Rachel, along with her boyfriend and fellow classmate, ventured to the Big Apple in search of the perfect fabrics.

Louise Bourgeois Spider in front of the Tate Modern in London

“I knew I kind of wanted that soft and hard element in my line, so I started out in the jerseys and let the fabric speak to me,” remembers Rachel. “I just started pulling fabrics that I liked, that I was attracted to, and what spoke to me.  Then I laid them all out.”

Before she knew it she had developed a color palette of fabrics that mimicked the color story in her favorite Salvador Dali painting. Silks, knits, organza and jerseys were all laid out before her and they all complimented her initial inspiration.

“I ended up going with my gut and listened to myself. I knew what felt right and just went for it,” she says. “I bought all my fabric right then and there. I took everything with me. I had my entire six garments worth of fabric.”

Once the fabric was set, Rachel set out on a new goal. To not only produce six garments, the maximum that she could present for the Senior Fashion Show jury, but to get every single one in the show.

“I wanted to push myself and create six looks. It would be one thing if they were single pieces, but all of mine are separates,” says Rachel. “This is a lot of work, and because some of them are lingerie pieces, getting the fit right was very important. Mix that with silk and knits and I gave myself a huge challenge.”

The challenge paid off.  All six of her designs were selected by the jury to appear in the show. But before Rachel even had time to relish in her success, she was already looking to how she could make the garments better before the show.

You’ll have a chance to see Rachel’s new mix of ready-to-wear designs on May 11th, but tickets are going fast. Buy yours here today!


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The CCAD Fashion Show is an annual fundraising event that showcases the talent of graduating Columbus College of Art & Design Fashion Design Seniors. This popular event sells out every year and this blog is a portal through which to view the behind-the-scenes goings on.

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3 Responses to “Spiders, Salvador Dali Merge to Inspire Rachel Cass’ Collection”

  1. Rock Kauser says:

    Great article. Way to go Rachel!

  2. Laura Weisel says:

    Great article about a real up and coming star! Keep an eye on Rachel as she leads the fashion world into a new future!

  3. [...] summer town center directory recently featured models donning designs by fashion design alumna Rachel Cass, from the Columbus College of Art and Design, 2012 . Cass was awarded the inaugural 2012 Easton [...]