I remember being in my mom’s closet when I was just elementary-school age and seeing a big white box tucked in the back corner; it was her wedding dress. I couldn’t understand why anyone would want to get married in such a special gown and then let it sit and gather dust for the rest of eternity. Today, I still don’t.
Clearly, I’m not the only one taken aback by the idea of spending so much money on something you only wear once. The New School student Olivia Horan founded For Good Luck with the idea of giving new life to vintage pieces, specifically evening wear (including wedding dresses). The result? Perfectly-poufy blouses that pair shockingly well with your favorite pair of boyfriend jeans.
“By remaking [party dresses] into tops, these pieces could now be worn for any occasion and styled so many different ways,” Horan tells COOLS. “Before For Good Luck, my main focus was on curating vintage and styling. Through this work, I stumbled upon so many amazing pieces that just couldn’t really be worn today because they weren’t practical, and I hated to see them go to waste.”
That’s when what she calls the ‘Cake Collection,’ which focused on repurposing vintage wedding gowns, began. Horan notes that she feels a personal connection to many of the pieces, even sometimes going so far as tracking down the wedding day photo of the gowns in their prime. “Most likely, [each piece] was originally purchased to be worn for some sort of special moment—which I think adds a touch of good luck,” she says. And though some are dyed and/or restructured, the general feel of the original garment always remains.
“By reworking these pieces, I hope to not only honor the woman that wore it on the happiest day of her life, but to recreate that feeling that she experienced when wearing it,” explains Horan. “A few of the dresses were actually sourced from woman from my hometown and they were all so eager to have them be not only repurposed and worn again, but to tell their love stories. Each piece is hand-dyed and hand-sewed, making them one-of-a-kind just like the love stories they represent.”
But the meaning goes deeper than a love story: It’s taking a symbol of womanhood and adapting it to the idea of feminism today. “Through this process of deconstruction I took note on how by physically taking them apart and re-dying these garments that carry such societal significance, I’m in a way breaking down how society views woman as these angelic, dainty, virginal beings,” Horan continues. “We are so much more than that.”