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Spring and Autumn: the Garments of Persephone

© Copyright Alessandra Kelley

These garments are part of "Second Sights: The Art of Presence", an ongoing project.

"Second Sights" takes inspiration from the classical Greek gods to spur thought and expand our culture's ideas of human beauty and clothing.

These garments offer thoughts about the movement of the human form.

The project blends panel painting, clothing design and construction, and textile painting. Each god addressed in the "Second Sights" project has a painting and an outfit, sometimes more than one.

Persephone is the Greek god of the underworld and the dead, spring and new growth. She and her husband, Hades, were called Chthonian, or underworld, gods and were considered of equal status with Zeus and Hera.

The Romans called her Proserpina.

Persephone's double nature as queen and keeper of the dead and as harbinger of spring and god of new growth is reflected in the garments.

a ghostly image of a woman in the Persephone garments climbing a stair a sheep's skull and nasturtiums painted on the back of a leather jacket
a woman in the dress

The dancing dress, symbolizing spring and Persephone's lifebringing nature, is made of green and yellow silk crepe, satin, habotai, and taffeta and edged with silk satin ribbon and painted with nasturtiums and butterflies.

The dress is cut in long, complex, continuous sinuous shapes which when sewn together form a body shape.

a woman in the jacket

The jacket is sewn from dark green heavy wool crepe and green lambskin and painted on the rear with a lamb's skull and nasturtiums. It has enameled green buttons held together by gold-filled chains and appliqued vertebrae and teeth motifs of pale green lambskin.

The jacket sleeves are a complex shape cut from three curved lenths of lambskin which when sewn together hug the arms even though they are open to the wrist.

A painting of a  woman inthe Persephone garments striding through a cave towards greenery and ivy, the other divine garments following in her wake

Click here to see the accompanying painting.

Click here for the project gallery.