Helen Storey & Tony Ryan

During the 1980s, Helen Storey was one of the “angry women” of the British fashion world. Her name was mentioned in one and the same breath with those of Vivienne Westwood, Katharine Hamnett and John Galliano. Stars such as Cher and Madonna wore her often-provocative clothing. But even in the collections that made her famous, the love-hate relationship she had with fashion was hard to avoid. Her evening dresses did more to cast doubt on the traditional view of women, glamour and luxury than to contribute to it. In the mid nineties Storey closed the doors to her fashion house and turned her attention to a new field of research that combined several different disciplines such as art, biology, the neuroscience and chemistry. Following her environmental concerns, "Disappearing Dresses" from the "wonderland" collection is a collaboration with a chemist, Tony Ryan. The dresses dissolve when hung in a large fish bowl filled with water, creating spectacular underwater fireworks. For Story and Ryan, this project is a metaphor; a dress that took months to create disappears on a couple of days, just as the world will do if we aren’t careful and continue with our present way of life and production. The "Disappearing Dress", with their vanishing beauty, should alert us to the unfathomable depth of that loss.