Catherine Jane Creates Condom Couture for Project Inform

Text by Karena Akhavein

When Project Inform Director, Henry Lucerno, asked San Francisco-based fashion designer, Catherine Jane, to participate in their October 15th fundraiser, Evening of Hope, she jumped at the chance. Participation in the charity’s Condom Couture fashion show combines a contribution to the important cause of AIDS education, with an enticing creative experiment. “How could I turn down the opportunity to create a garment using condoms?” asks Jane, whose stunning prophylactic ball gown incorporates 2,000 rubbers and juxtaposes layers of translucent silvery latex with heavier, structured blue brocade. The project was more time consuming than the designer initially imagined, especially since, after unwrapping and unrolling all two thousand condoms and cutting the rings off of them, she became inspired to hand-paint each one to resemble a feather. “So there I was, faced with all those condoms, and…the idea evolved on its own,” Jane says. “After I had them all placed on a triangle of organza, they took on an ethereal quality and that is when I came up with the idea to paint them…they needed a little more depth.” After painting came hot gluing, which resulted in much frustration and several blistered fingertips. But it was all well worth it, says Jane, who thoroughly enjoyed working on the project: “It made me push the envelope of my imagination…not to mention we got in a few laughs!”

For those with latex sensitivity, the designer’s eponymous boutiques in SF and Mill Valley feature chic but condom-less garments, including a dress similar to the ball gown shown at the Evening Of Hope event.