Realizing how important it is for breast cancer survivors to feel and look their best, two of these three art bra artists were inspired to participate in Art Bra® Austin because of their connection to loved ones who experienced breast cancer. The third has her own physical scars directing her to create something to make a model feel beautiful when sometimes society makes us feel differently. Laurie, Crystal and Mallory are all students in the esthetics program at Avenue Five Institute.
Laurie Calhoun “Bellissima”
This is Laurie’s first time participating as an Art Bra Artist and she designed her piece in honor and memory of her aunt, who was diagnosed with late-stage breast cancer in the 1970’s and soon after passed away. Fast-forward to 2016, Laurie is grateful for the opportunity to give back to an organization that is representative of the progress we’ve made in breast cancer support and treatment options.
Bellissima translated simply means “very beautiful—a feminine thing.” As the inspiration for Laurie’s art bra, can there be a better word to describe this beautiful creation?? Laurie chose a pink sheer fabric with a glimmering mauve vine design to completely cover the bra. She then embellished her creation with a sprinkling of pearls to give it that classic look! The bra flourishes with beaded ribbon covering the straps to complete a most feminine allure. Laurie says Monet is her favorite artist, and this art bra is certainly reminiscent of his “Springtime” piece showing a young girl in pink.
Crystal describes herself as “a sassy redhead who loves everyone”! As a single mother to a “wonderful 20-year-old son”, she recently started attending an esthetics program at Avenue Five Institute, and says “I am so excited to start a new part of my life when I graduate”. She “loves nails, reading, video games, and badly-sung karaoke”.
Crystal says she has a very artistic mind and limited hand skills for it, but “I still try to create as much as I can. I love flower design and all kinds of crafts”. After finding out about Art Bra Austin while attending her classes, she thought the event sounded “awesome” and knew immediately she wanted to create her first art bra. Like so many others, Crystal is also personally affected by the disease. Her grandmother had died of breast cancer after being too afraid to have a lump in her chest checked. Crystal also has a friend who was diagnosed with breast cancer at the young age of 25, but after some encouragement from Crystal, had her lump investigated and is currently in recovery.
To Crystal, the pink ribbon awareness and prevention symbol means…Hope! Realizing it has made such a huge difference in saving lives, it became the inspiration for her bra design. When she first heard about Art Bra Austin, her first thought “was a bra covered in the Pink Ribbon, so I did it!” Crystal began constructing her art bra’s design by folding “lots” of pink-hued satin ribbons of varying sizes into that iconic shape then proceeded to hand stitch them and sparkly beads onto a pristine white bra. She formed a “skirt” with pink ribbon-decorated sheer fabric applied to a wide pink satin ribbon which she stitched to the bottom of the bra. Crystal has succeeded in creating an iconic art bra by spotlighting a symbol that has represented hope for so many.
Mallory says her style is directed by color. She wanted her creation to be both chic and comfortable so its wearer would feel fun and fabulous. Mallory says, “I want women all around the world, regardless of what their scars are from, to know that they are beautiful when society says different. They are strong; they fought and survived what tried to bring them down, and they are unique for the story they live.”
Mallory explains that when she began her creation, it was with the thought of making something fun, sexy and flattering for the women who deserve to feel this way! When she couldn’t seem to make it look perfect like she desired, she drew upon her own experiences with a major augmentation surgery to repair extensive scarring from being burned as a baby and the healing process which was less than successful—going through it a second time she accepted the outcome even though it was imperfect because it made her strong, beautiful and unique. With that perspective, Mallory proceeded to create her vibrant “Aslyn”! She stitched luxurious black silk to the cups of the bra then continued to stitch the flowing royal purple lace fabric over the front accenting the bra with a striking black and white flower brooch. To finish the design, the straps were covered with gunmetal gray chain. This unique and colorful bra will make the woman who wears it feel beautiful in anyone’s eyes!
ART BRA AUSTIN
All art bras will be auctioned off at BCRC’s signature charity event to raise funds to support local women affected by breast cancer. To learn more about Art Bra Austin, visit www.artbraaustin.org
Art Bra photography generously provided by Flashbax23.