Designer fashion for life after death.
We’ve all said “I wouldn’t be caught dead in that” but have you given much thought to what you will actually be caught dead in?
Now you don’t have to, Australian designer Pia Interlandi is here to do that for you.
Witnessing the hectic confusion of what to clothe her nonno when he died, she took fabric-matter into her own hands. She wanted her grandfather dressed in a beautiful way that was memorable.
“That [experience] changed my entire perception of the manner in which we can grieve,” she wrote on her self titled website.
“Instead of it being a scary and morbid experience, I realised I had been given an opportunity to usher this proud, strong, and traditional man.”
This got her thinking; dead people don’t need tailored suits. They don’t need buttons, zippers, or snaps either. Besides, it’s extremely tough to dress a corpse (not that many of us have experience with that sort of thing).
It was inspiration enough for Interlandi to create her line Garments for the Grave.
Pia’s designs are simple. Made of cotton, decomposable linen, and hemp, the garments are designed to stay intact for the ceremony and burial and then start to dissolve at a rate just quicker than the human body.
“The body is gradually unwrapped or undressed so that it can be released back into the environment,” she told the New York Daily News.
“In almost every human culture, when an individual is prepared for burial or cremation, their body is dressed in a garment that will literally and symbolically become part of the body as it returns to the earth,” She wrote.
Garments for the Grave has gathered plenty of attention. Call it “angelic attire”, or “creepy”, fashion has never been a morbid subject.
Pia thinks of each garment as becoming a second skin to the person, with its fragile and vulnerable quality wrapping the body. She works with woven and non-woven yarns and has also created her own lace. These pieces are delicate.
Death, romance, and mystery were the three main elements to create her “ghostly garments”. Interlandi says the collection neither denies, nor flirts with death but presents “in a way that invites observers to view it as natural, undeniable, inevitable, and at times, beautiful.”
Interlandi has been working closely with families since 2012 to help create a celebration of life as a funeral celebrant, and provide custom-designed clothes for their dearly departed. – Melina Morry
Photos courtesy of Devika Bilimoria Photography