Photo: Andy Hall/The Guardian
Outfits designed for Grayson Perry’s alter ego Claire, including a dress resembling a “baby bib” and an oversized bra with pointed tips, have been auctioned off.
The online sale includes 39 pieces designed for ceramics and broadcasting by Central Saint Martins students dating back 17 years. The money raised will go to the London university’s fashion department.
The Turner prize-winning artist, known for his colorful and eccentric cross-dressing exhibitions, has been collaborating with the Department’s students since 2004 on a project entitled ‘Make Something Gorgeous for Grayson Perry’.
Second year design students were tasked with making a costume for Claire, Perry’s alter ego. Each student receives £100 in fabrics and materials and £500 if Perry was impressed with his work and wants to take the garment home.
An event was held to celebrate the launch of the auction at Central Saint Martins on Friday where some of the outfits being auctioned were on display.
“He’s collected the most incredible work from us but it’s time to share the love,” said Isabella Coraça, 35, fashion communication lecturer and project leader.
“Grayson contacted us and said he had some costumes he wanted to sell but insisted the money had to go back to the students,” she said.
It is understood that the money raised will pay for fabrics and materials as well as scholarships.
Mimi Wade, a fashion designer and former student, said she was honored that her design was the first lot in the auction. “I remember not finishing the dress in time and being up for two nights in a row while my housemates went to see Iggy Pop and I was so jealous. It feels like it paid off now,” she said.
Wade’s dress is embroidered with drawings of Perry’s teddy bear, Alan Measles.
Wade attended a presentation given by Perry where he showed items that informed his work and style as Claire. Among them were remnants from the 1975 version of The Stepford Wives.
“Looking back, this was the first piece I made that was inspired by the movies, and I’ve created a lot of collections inspired by movies, and camp psychological horror has always been my favorite ,” she said
Esme Young, 73, a fashion designer who has been involved in the project since its inception, said: “He is a very nice man who is really generous with the students. He gives them £100 each to buy fabrics and presents ‘Claire’ with his three choices – one of his ceramics. He buys a lot of the dresses and pays £500 each.”
“Some years he would buy everyone’s work, he would buy any he loved,” Coraça said.
When the students have finished their designs, a fashion show will be held where Perry tries on the outfits. “Students pick the music they want and it’s going to be dancing and grooving,” Young said.
“If he likes it he’ll be dancing all over the young and happy and if he’s disappointed with the result he’ll be crying with sadness,” said Sarah Gresty, a course leader who was involved in the project from start to finish.
Perry wore some of the outfits in public. The artist wore a garment designed by Koko Kasugai, featuring hand-drawn figures and flowers, at the Royal Academy of Art’s summer exhibition party in 2009.
The auction, which is open to buyers worldwide, will close on February 20.