Vintage-lover? Check. Quirky? Check. Artistic and original? Check. Meet St. Louis designer, Piper Hutson of Ever After Reimagined:
When most people see a small pile of bones or squished bugs, "beautiful" is not the first (or second, or tenth) adjective to enter their minds. Yet to Piper, creatures that would otherwise be lost in the world are awesome sources of inspiration for wearable art.
|Top left: "Anything But Camoflaged"; Bottom left: "American Detective" hat; Right: "A Spine to Stop Time"|
Piper's career as a designer began with an "obsession with all things Victorian." As she earned her master's degree in Art History, Piper found that the time period's elegant jewelry and respect for the macabre was the perfect match for her love of the unconventional. (Piper's dedication even inspired her to have a Victorian-themed wedding, complete with a harpist and vintage-clad guests!) When she saw a wet specimen by Lady Von Black at St. Louis Curio Shoppe, Piper realized that she could channel her skills into her own collection of beautiful oddities.
Case in point: Piper combined a gifted cat skull (!), grey taxidermy mouse (stuffed by Piper herself), and estate sale vintage hat for her interpretation of the fashion industry as a game of cat and mouse. Clever!
|"Caught in the Act." Yes, it's slightly creepy, but oddly cool. Think you can pull it off? Daring ladies can find it here.|
Piper admits that not everyone appreciates her unusual mediums. Her mixed-media creations of bones, metal, stones, feathers, and wood have invited questions about her vision and prices. Early in her career, she was devastated when the owner of a Philadelphia shop promised to sell her collection, only to change his mind after several months without having the guts to tell her directly. Yet, Piper bravely forged on. Now, her hats, shawls, and jewelry have been featured in several St. Louis galleries and exhibitions: 33 January at The Old Orchard Gallery. Trash to Art at Koken Art Factory and Apocalyptic Wonderland at the Contemporary Art Museum. Until a few months ago, she also had her own space at the Alexi Era Gallery.
While rocking her signature Victorian pinup/sexy librarian style (think: pearls, lace, 1950s silhouettes), Piper continues to create one-of-a-kind pieces and form connections with other artists. "Being surrounded by like-minded creative people is the best part of what I do," she says. Her professional dream is to "find a market that appreciates my work and continues to offer me new experiences." Her advice to up-and-coming artists? "Love what you do, know what you are worth, and don't let other people influence your appreciation for your work."
|This portrait of Piper (AKA "Goddess Arianrhod") was taken by Rocio Mirelis, featured on The Ruby Zipper here!|
Check out more of Piper's amazing designs at www.everafterreimagined.com!