In the Spotlight: Local designer explores unusual materials
by Denise Ellen Rizzo
Nov 16, 2012 | 5051 views | 3 3 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Unique dress designs
Tracy's Gail Shrive has designed unique apparel, including dresses made from popcorn and condoms.  Glenn Moore/Tracy Press
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Unique is the word to describe all aspects of the fashions created by Tracy-based designer Gail Shrive.

Welcoming a visitor to her in-house studio on Parkside Drive, Shrive proudly displays some of her unique creations throughout the room. Among them are a layered gown constructed of thousands of black and red condoms and a dress decorated with countless gold and black popcorn kernels.

Shrive started designing club clothing for her friends while she studied fashion design and marketing at University of East London.

“It’s so unique,” Shrive said. “You go clubbing there and people say, ‘Oh, my God, who are you wearing?’ Everybody pays you to be different.”

In a little more than a decade, the 41-year-old Philippines-born designer has worked her way into the San Francisco fashion world.

“I love clothes,” she said. “I’ve been making clothes since I was young.”

After graduating with a bachelor’s degree, Shrive left her London home of 10 years and moved to San Francisco in 1999 to be close to her mother. She settled in Tracy with her husband, Damon, and her daughter, Kalila, now 7, in 2009.

Since her arrival in the Bay Area, Shrive has taken part in charity events and fashion shows that highlight her whimsical side.

The dress she made of layered red and black condoms was for an AIDS fundraiser called Evening of Hope on Oct. 25 in San Francisco. She said each of the dozen or more designers who were invited to participate received boxes of condoms to create their pieces.

Shrive used close to 5,000 Trustex condoms, including lubricated strawberry-flavored condoms that had to be washed individually by hand before they could be sewn onto the garment.

“I like putting a lot of details,” she said. “I work better under pressure.”

To be ready for the benefit, she made the dress in two days.

“I sew really fast,” Shrive said, “and when I put my heart and soul into it, I burn the midnight oil.”

Shrive also often uses edible materials. Among the results are a dress pieced of seaweed strips with a halibut skeleton belt; one made of halved mangos with a pineapple headpiece; and one with a coffee-bean covered bustier and a skirt of plastic coffee cup covers.

The coffee dress, which was pictured in Italian Vogue magazine, is on display at Barista’s coffee shop, 112 W. 10th St.

“We do crazy stuff,” she said. “It’s a lot of experiment, trial and error.”

Shrive said she likes to create outside her comfort zone with pieces that have an avant-garde flair.

“I like being different. I like to push the envelope,” she said. “You can be as creative as you want.”

All of her designs are custom-

tailored for particular fashion shows or clients, she said. Prices range from $1,000 to $5,000, depending upon the materials used.

In the coming year, Shrive plans to begin mass-producing some garments, which will be highlighted on her website, www.gbshrive.com. She is also creating a coffee-table book showcasing her work.

Some of her creations are available at Wonderland SF gallery and boutique, 2929 24th St., in San Francisco.

• Contact Denise Ellen Rizzo at 830-4225 or drizzo@tracypress.com. • Editor's note: This story was updated from a previous version, which contained incorrect information about a local fashion show.
Comments
(3)
Comments-icon Post a Comment
LuckyInTracyNot
|
November 19, 2012
Ok Ok it was a good cause.
LuckyInTracyNot
|
November 16, 2012
Nice talent but, condoms? They can come in handy I guess, no pun intended.
princesaportuguese
|
November 17, 2012
"The dress she made of layered red and black condoms was for an AIDS fundraiser called Evening of Hope on Oct. 25 in San Francisco. She said each of the dozen or more designers who were invited to participate received boxes of condoms to create their pieces."



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