Dancing Dorothy


Created for an exhibition entitled CUT which paid homage to the vintage clothing collection of Dorothy Nicol.  The collection includes more than 1,500 garments from different eras, ranging from the late 1800s to the 1980s. It is the stories and memories that the garments hold which inspire Dorothy to collect.

‘Dancing Dorothy’ was a collaborative effort between Kat Pengelly, Koshka; Ellie Lee, Minestilo  and Shelly Kent of Orange Owl Textiles. Shelly designed and screen printed the beige fabric and Ellie and Kat designed and constructed the garment. The mint fabric was chosen to compliment Shelly’s printed fabric in both colour and texture.

After meeting the delightful Dorothy and viewing her collection, Dorothy’s love of her dancing days in the 1950’s and the dresses she wore became apparent.  The garment design process was a combination of responding to the printed fabric as well as representing Dorothy’s collection with a focus on frocks for dancing.

Shelly’s fabric designs are often inspired by nature. She likes walking and collects a library of photos from her journeys to sketch in a visual diary. Drawings are scanned into her computer to be digitally manipulated. Once happy with the motifs, Shelly places the design into a repeat pattern until she is satisfied that the design flows.

Ellie created a fitted bodice with darts in front, a spilt neckline, mint strapping and a sculptural design feature that sits on the left shoulder. The back bodice is made from two triangular sections cut on the bias which gives a fullness to the fabric.

As a base, Kat chose a full circle skirt giving maximum flare whilst spinning in dance mode. This was added to with the printed fabric that was cut in triangles on the bias which was also   designed to flare out. Kat created a small hat reminiscent of a 1950’s airhostess to complete the outfit.

Concept -Kat Pengelly
Design – Kat Pengelly, Ellie Lee, Shelly Kent
Photography – Nadia Moth!
Model – Kat Pengelly