In light of the approaching holiday marking another rotation of the earth around the sun, Seattle Peach has been spending a lot of time looking at New Years gowns in preparation for the celebration. The most fabulously dramatic of the bunch comes from Portland designer, Frocky Jack Morgan. The elegant, cascading fabrics and feminine bodices of these gowns are perfect for a formal affair and the romantic whimsy of the designs capture the essence of a special occasion.
Inspired by a tattered Stella McCartney dress she saw in a shop window, Frocky Jack Morgan’s Julia Barbee is a local pioneer in reconstructed fashion. Her designs have long been reputed for being a sustainable option for the eco-conscious fashionista. Working with vintage gowns and raw materials, Barbee deconstructs these found pieces and adds detailed embellishment, creating a decadent homage to the history of fashion.
“I am simply more inspired by existing objects than by a blank slate,” she once told the Portland Mercury.
Using her background in sculpture to inform her designs, Barbee’s use of recycled clothing tells a story, or rather, a fairy tale through the texture of old fabrics and the nostalgia of antique details. It’s unique and edgy and distinctly couture.
Julia Barbee took a moment to answer some questions Seattle Peach had regarding her musical tastes.
I’m kind of obsessive when I find something I love. I mostly listen to metal in my car, and I’ve been blasting Megadeth’s Rust in Peace (specifically the song “Holy Wars”). I just opened a shop/studio in Portland (at 811 E Burnside Suite 122 if anyone is planning a visit), and setting up for the opening I was playing Pantera’s Cowboys from Hell, and a little Ozzy. But I never assume anyone else is going to share my awesome metal taste (ha ha), so obviously I have to tone down my musical selections for the masses during the day, and I’ve been playing obscure Christmas music in the shop, like Fats Waller who is one of my favorite musicians, and I just ordered Odetta’s Christmas album.
2.) What music do you put on first thing in the morning?
I’m pretty content with silence in the morning actually. I guess that doesn’t fit in with a musical questionnaire, but I just find it to be audio overload if it’s too early. I don’t have a tv, and I just can’t really handle the pace of media when I’m just gaining consciousness. My friend brought me a Russian a cappella choral album from her travels; it reminds me of Gregorian Chants a little bit. Something meditative would be permissible.
I love using my record player for some music, it’s just more fitting for a band like Boston to be on vinyl I think. Or Deep Purple’s “Smoke on the Water.” “Sweet Leaf” by Black Sabbath is good too. I did listen to some Die Antwoord getting ready for my shop to open, and “Destroyer” by the Kinks has been on repeat a few times while I’ve been gearing up for whatever the future holds. But I can also just throw on some drum & bass and I’m good to go. I have a good friend Danny who keeps me well-stocked in that!
4.) If you could pick any band/artist to perform for your runway show, who would it be and why?
Geez, Bjork! I just love her work, it’s so expansive. It would set the stage, and compliment anything else going on visually. I just recently did a performance art piece in New York, and had the privilege of seeing Matthew Barney’s work in Gladstone Gallery there, and I was just in awe of his brilliance! I love that they are individually geniuses, and then find ways to work together.
Mariane Faithful. She has aged so gracefully, and she’s always been beautiful, but with a real edge to her. There are so many great musicians that tread that line, who I deeply admire: Chrissie Hynde, Patti Smith, Debbie Harry.
6.) What musician/band would you most like to style or design for?
Any of those women would be phenomenal to work with. Josephine Baker or Marlene Dietrich would be great if time were not a factor. If I could do something a little less bloody, maybe Gwar. I love the idea of that kind of theatricality for a performance, and it doesn’t seem like a show where I might find myself nodding off. The Portland-based band Vagabond Opera has used a couple of my dresses in photo shoots, so it has been awesome to see my work translated into the musical realm that way.
7.) What musician/band are you most excited to see play that is coming to town in the next few months?
Well, I live in Portland, and just saw today that Die Antwood is coming in February, and I have to expect that would be an outlandish show! ★
Frocky Jack Morgan can be found at Velouria or Hunt & Gather in Seattle or at the home store in Portland.Tweet