Mylar balloons need not be connected solely to birthdays. If you’re like me, you have saved a few of these shiny balloons over the years. You saw the potential in them, too, didn’t you…
There were a few of these balloons that you saved from the landfill after someone's birthday—a birthday you didn’t celebrate, but when you happened to be at a park hours after the party and there were Mylar balloons bobbing around on the grass next to the trash can, you thought, “Cool! Thanks for waiting for me. Now let’s get you home…”
These balloons are still festive and shiny month later. The latex variety shrivel to a fraction of their inflated size but Mylar balloons want a second performance. Balloons are the backup singers of the birthday world. They definitely enhance a celebration. But today is the day when they are the star of the show. And so I made a dress from them, thereby recycling and giving a new purpose to something, and also giving me a festive outfit to wear. Win, win.
Today I hit many of my usual spots in costume, as I often do on Wednesdays. Strangers wished me a happy birthday again and again. (I live in such a friendly city!) I responded, “Thanks, although today’s not my birthday.” Some people asked why I was dressed as I was, and of course I shared my story. It was a full day, and I have a few observations to share:
Balloon dress advantages:
1) Lightweight to wear.
2) Surprisingly comfortable to wear.
3) Shiny and colorful (= cheerful).
Balloon dress disadvantages:
1) The pieces of Mylar stayed intact all morning while I was out walking but a few pieces of my balloon dress tore while I was in sitting in the car. Maybe it was the seatbelt. Safety first!
2) Noisy. The plastic material makes a crinkle-crinkle sound when I walk. This outfit is not recommended for quiet places like libraries, courtrooms and churches.
Last night as I was layering pieces of cut up Mylar balloons, this dress took on a distinctly 1980s vibe. I was pretty young in the 80s but I was aware of the flashy fashions on shows like Dynasty. I never saw the show, which started past my bedtime, but somehow I knew about Joan Collins’ outfits. The 80s was a decade that embraced the concept of More is More. The fashion world certainly bought into that idea. Shoulders had pads. Pants had pleats. Skirts had volume. Ruffles were big. Why be streamlined when you could be puffy and gathered and ruffled? Somewhere along the way today’s dress became very 80s. Maybe the Mylar’s metallic sparkle subconsciously led me in that direction, because before I knew it I was gathering and ruffling and creating an 80s masterpiece.
The cast of Dynasty was no stranger to sparkly, ruffled outfits…
This Norma Kamali dress from the 1980s illustrates the ruffled, flashy look of fashion back then:
But long before there were gold dresses on Dynasty or Mylar balloons, the original balloon was born, back in 1824. Scientist Michael Faraday developed the first rubber balloon while experimenting with various gases. Thank you, sir, for starting what has brought fun to kids (and grown up kids) all over the world…
Fast forward nearly two hundred years to this week, when a San Diego artist grabbed her hot glue gun, started slashing with her scissors and whipped up something new to wear. These shining sheets of fun have been sitting in my art studio for months, waiting patiently for their showcase. Get ready, world. Today is their day to shine…