by CHELSEA CALLICOTT for Cascade A&E
In an interview with mother-daughter designers Cecile and Nicole Cuddihy, I felt like Alice falling down the rabbit hole. The Cuddihy home studio is a wonderland of past costumes, sketches, display boards and raw material and was the venue where they shared their inspirations, recent projects and upcoming plans with me one afternoon.
Cecile is an architectural designer at Tozer Design and Nicole is her 18 year old daughter, a recent Summit High grad who will soon begin a program in Costume Design at Arts University Bournemouth in England. This creative duo share a passion for design and have participated in three of the past four Rubbish Renewed Eco Fashion Shows.
Most recently they created over 90 costumes for the Summit High School performance of Shrek, The Musical, one of many theatre productions for which they have designed costumes.
Though they work in different media, Cecile says the similarities are surprising. “I work in buildings and Nicole with clothing. In both there is the design, the construction and the end result is a tangible product.”
And while design is Cecile’s profession, from an early age Nicole had chosen her art form. Cecile commented, “As a Montessori preschooler, Nicole’s journals would be filled with entries like, ‘Today, I am wearing purple tights.’ As she got older she’d draw pictures of herself and her friends in outfits she’d make up. Fashion has always been her world.”
Nicole’s shift toward costuming came in 2005, when she witnessed Oscar-award-winning designer Jacqueline Durran’s take on the clothing of 19th century England in the film Pride and Prejudice. She also loves watching ballet and opera, “art forms in which there are no spoken words, as costumes become the vehicle through which the characters express everything.”
In previous Rubbish Renewed shows, the Cuddihys have created very inventive pieces. Last year, Cecile’s motorcycle jacket and pleated skirt fashioned from architectural plans for the Desert Rain living building by Tozer Design was a favorite in the 2014 Business Challenge. Then a high school senior, Nicole saved volumes of college marketing materials from which she made a corset-cage, which she paired with a graduation robe made of college letters. Previously, Nicole made a cape dress of Back Porch coffee bags and Cecile constructed a party dress out of men’s shirts as well as a striking shift dress from paper road maps.
This year’s inspiration for Nicole came from a Samurai Warriors exhibit they visited in Portland. She comments, “I was particularly intrigued by the small segments of different materials woven together in close proximity to each other. I’d like to bring that into my piece this year, and push the non-fabric side of fashion.”
“Rubbish Renewed gives us a chance to try out different techniques and materials, and there are always people cheering for you,” comments Cecile. “Seeing the variety of entries in Rubbish Renewed is both impressive and inspirational.”
To step into the world of Cecile and Nicole, even for a few hours, is to become intrigued by the possibilities that exist for creative expression. “I am always learning of new places I can go with costumes,” concluded Nicole. I, for one, can’t wait to see where this passion takes her.
Rubbish Renewed is an eco-fashion show that features the work of local designers and students made from recycled and repurposed materials as a fundraiser for Realms, a charter middle school.
The evening includes a live and silent auction, marketplace, food carts and beverages, and will be held Thursday, January 15, 2015 with shows at 6 and 8pm at the Bend Armory.
Advance tickets are $20 (adults) and $10 (students) at WabiSabi downtown, the Workhouse at the Old Ironworks, Realms School and online at www.rubbishrenewed.com.