Chelsea Rousso’s wearable glass art is one of the museum’s main attractions in the Carnival & Cabaret exhibit and many fans have created their own works of art at her creative glass classes. However, few realize that Chelsea enjoyed a hugely successful career as a fashion designer in New York, before moving to Florida. Now she is using her dress-making talents to make fancy facemasks in collaboration with one of her former students, Tatiana Cochagne.
Chelsea was a young New York fashion designer during the Career Dressing style of the 1980s, selling to Nordstrom and other leading department stores. She followed the fashion trends into Lifestyle Dressing and then the artisan inspired sustainability movement of the new Millennium with her Green collections, such as Earth Song. After moving to South Florida in 2004, Chelsea became a teacher at the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale and shared her practical knowledge in fashion forecasting in her book Fashion Forward, now in its second edition. She began collaborating with WMODA during the Flair for Fashion exhibition in 2014 and has introduced many of her students to the museum.
One of the stars in the Art Institute’s class of 2016 was Tatiana Cochagne from Peru, whose first collection Eterna was debuted on the runway at New York Fashion Week. Tatiana’s collection was inspired by the timeless elegance of the Elizabethan era with their fancy fabrics and exaggerated silhouettes. A bejeweled portrait of Queen Elizabeth I inspired Tatiana’s fantasy gown Royal Innocence, which she made during WMODA’s first fashion exhibit. The exquisite muslin creation is quilted, smocked, and slashed. Faux pearls are incorporated in the bodice and offset with a stunning fan shaped ruff.
Tatiana first fell in love with fashion as a little girl when her grandmother embodied her ideals of stylish elegance in her A-line floral poplin dress with its Peter Pan collar, her pearl necklace around her beautiful neck, and her hair in a bun secured with a vintage pin. This image shines brightly in Tatiana’s memory and she knows her grandmother would have been so proud of her achievements as she walked down the runway in New York, the best night of her life.
Now Tatiana is collaborating with Chelsea to make fashionable face masks in a range of patterns, including some of her own prints. The CDC recommends the use of cloth face coverings in public places to protect each other and to help slow the spread of COVID -19. Masks must be worn when visiting WMODA but they don’t have to be boring! Why not choose something fancier from one of the designs for sale at the museum shop. Here are some of the museum staff and volunteers modeling their purchases.
During your visit, you can also enjoy Tatiana’s Elizabethan gown on show in our Carnival & Cabaret exhibit along with Chelsea’s wearable glass costumes and her Mardi Grass masks, which are also for sale in the museum shop.
Learn more about Chelsea’s diverse career in her Open House Zoom meeting presented by Plunge into the Arts.
“Fit for a Queen” Goldscheider Bust in Pearl Mask by Tatiana