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Dressed For Death: Garments for the Grave by Pia Interlandi

Posted: October 14th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Art News, Favorite New Thought . . ., From The Web | Tags: , , | Comments Off on Dressed For Death: Garments for the Grave by Pia Interlandi

In almost every culture, death is shrouded with ritual, the entombment of the dead is most commonly preceded by its dressing.

In Islam it’s a white cotton cloth, Judaism’s Tachrichim bindings and in the west’s it’s a tradition of grave clothes, solid black woollen suit or head to toe frock.

The corporeal commonality is the preparation of a dead body for it’s journey to the other-side.

In an increasingly secular society, it’s a wonderfilled thing to see an artisan reaching back through these traditions, seeking out something deeper from the aesthetically pleasing.

Despite clothing being almost exclusively about covering outside of the body, Ms Interlandi asks the most intimate question of the dead, where and what is soul? ::::

Garments for the Grave by Pia Interlandi image via Devika Bilimoria

As the saying goes …you can’t take it with you. This in mind, Australian designer Pia Interlandi has struck on an idea that befits the moment, completely beautiful biodegradable burial clothing.

Interlandi started a unique label – Garments for the Grave – she designs clothing that makes dressing the dead easy, is easy on the environment as well as satisfying the need for a pleasant looking corpse. Ms Interlandi says her inspiration came from dressing her grandfather for his own funeral.

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In ABC’s sumptuously produced arts-series Artscape: Anatomy, Ms Interlandi explores an ethical, clear-minded approach to shrouding the deceased. She cleverly and sympathetically looks at the process of aesthetic decision-making and how she as a fashion designer can create a garment for a client – Kaalii Cargill, a Melbourne psychotherapist – who is still very much alive.

The clue came with a funeral, her grandfathers. Ms Interlandi battled to dress her grandfather’s body the traditional western garb, a suit. She quickly realized that the clothes we wear in life aren’t designed for death.

The diceased have no need of zips or buttons, they don’t need tailoring and they have little need of shoes. Most importantly, the dead don’t need durability, corpses decompose, most synthetic fabrics don’t.

:The body is a gift,”  Interlandi says. “It’s a big bag of nutrients and water and protein. When you place it back into the earth, I think the garment is almost like wrapping paper.”

The Pig Project

To determine the life expectancy of fibres, Interlandi worked with a forensic scientist, together they buried 21 dead pigs in handcrafted outfits. Then they exhumed the carcasses periodically over a year, checking the decomposition rate of different materials.

Today her exclusive line of burial clothing includes shrouds inspired by nature, cocoons and elegant drapings that resemble kimonos, none of her designs are built to last, like us they turn to dust.


For Ms Interlandi’s full gallery check: piainterlandi.com/prototype/


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source: piainterlandi
source: youtube
source: abc
source: wired
image source: devikabilimoria

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