Her Universe partnered with LEGO artist Nathan Sawaya to create a "geek couture" gown.
From the wearable cardboard renditions of BB-8 to Dothraki warriors complete with fake ponytails, people take great pride in their appearance at San Diego Comic-Con. So, it was a fitting place to debut the first ever LLBD (aka Lego Little Black Dress).
Her Universe, the one-stop shop for everything from Captain America rompers to TARDIS tee-shirts, partnered with Lego artist Nathan Sawaya to create a floor-length dress for the Her Universe fashion show at this year’s Comic-Con.
“It is the first time a Lego couture gown will walk the runway,” Her Universe founder Ashley Eckstein tells Heat Vision. In order to bring the dress to life, Eckstein brought on her frequent collaborator, fashion designer Andrew MacLaine. She said: “I thought if there is anyone who can make a Lego dress it is the Andrew of Nathan.”
MacLaine describes his part of the creative process as “making a black sequined evening gown but out of Legos.” The fashion designer started with a fabric silhouette and then individually sewed on 10,000 total two-by-two black Lego pieces. “We started this saying we would probably only need about 2,000 bricks, but no.”
Maclaine says he drew inspiration from Zach Posen’s structured designs, as well as the dresses that came out of this year’s Met Gala, whose theme was “Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology.”
After the dress was made, Sawaya was brought in to take on the graphic design of the dress. Eckstein explains: “To put it in Star Wars terms, Nathan is the Jedi master and Andrew and I are his young Padawans.”
Sawaya, who has made Lego renditions of everything from Han Solo trapped in carbonite to the Mona Lisa, has experimented with making gown out of Legos, but they were always unwearable.
“One of the great things I like to do with my work is to challenge myself to collaborate with other types of artists but still push Lego in a new direction. For this, to work in fashion was a whole different challenge.” Sawaya adds: “We just wanted to make wearable art out of Lego.”
“The theme for the show this year are ‘Powerful Woman Hit the Runway’ so there are several designs inspired by strong female characters,” Eckstein explains. Ecklestein and Sawaya considered a Wonder Woman design for the dress but ultimately settled on Star Wars character Ahsoka Tano to decorate the front of the dress.
Eckstein provides the voice for the Togruta in the TV show Star Wars Rebels and sees her as the embodiment of the ‘Powerful Women’ theme. “[Ahsoka] came along and she was Anikan Skywalker’s apprentice and that is a major player in the Star Wars universe. Of course I am biased, but she really paved the way because she is the first female Jedi who was a lead in the Star Wars universe.”
The dress made it’s official debut at Her Universe's fashion show on Thursday night in San Diego, where designers drew inspiration from Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Harry Potter and the DC Superheroes. Sawaya conclude: “I think there is potential for a whole line of Lego. I know my wife wants a dress.”