Still, O’Dwyer persisted, perfecting her techniques and creating new ones, and began casting silicone around pastel-coloured silks that are frozen into the natural folds of the body. “With this technique, the body ends up moulding the garment as opposed to the garment moulding the body,” she explains. The result is a sublime collection of clothing that takes the forms of the female body and sticks a crowbar into the narrow view of what the female body ‘should’ look like, cracking it wide open into something much more representative.
“In my mind, the worst thing was that I didn’t look like the picture of the person in the clothes, but the reason things don’t look the same or don’t look as good is that they’re pattern cut for somebody else’s body, not because your body is wrong.”
O’Dwyer grew up in Tullamore, a small town in Ireland, and left home at nineteen to do a BA at ArtEZ in Arnhem (“I saw Iris van Herpen had gone there and thought, ‘I want to go there!’”). More recently she has travelled to the artist Love Bailey’s Savage Ranch in the Californian desert to the south of LA, with whom she collaborated to make the outfit Aquaria wore on the semi-finale of RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 10, has had her clothing worn by Björk (“a dream come true”), and recently participated in 1 Granary’s VOID exhibition.
Before this all took off, O’Dwyer did a stint in New York interning for Alexander Wang—“I worked with wonderful, generous people who taught me a lot, but I hated how much waste there was and how everything was done to sample size. In the end, it wasn’t for me.”