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UN-Dress – filming of the dissolvable dresses

2013 August 29

You read about the “UN-dress” in the Space Agency – Escape Velocity post a few months ago and in particular you were told that “…the dresses are dissolvable and will be filmed whilst they disintegrate in water”. We are now able to tell you that the filming will take place on Sunday 1st September  details below.



Performance Sunday 1st September 6pm

Part of Arthouses 6.00pm – 9.00pm, 31st August & 1st September, Whitley Bay Film Festival, 2013


The Promenade, Victoria Avenue, Whitley Bay, Tyne and Wear. NE26 2BA

Map: Victoria Avenue, Whitley Bay

Walk down pedestrianised street to the sea, cross road (follow the signs).


Presented and created by artist Helen Schell. Performer; Rachael Allan. Festival director & film maker; Ema Lea ( Primate Productions Ltd ). Festival director & artist; Tracey Tofield.

This is a filmed performance of UN-Dress, a dissolvable ball-gown and it will last about 15-20 minutes. The dress will be dissolved in a pool of water; a transition from the materialistic wealth of the past to a naturalistic simplicity of the future.

History of Project – Undress: Redress:

This was a collaborative art & science project about smart materials and clever clothing. Original Dates: 2nd November 2011 – 23rd April 2012, and with on-going education projects and films.


Arts Centre Washington, and Eldon Square Shopping Centre, Newcastle, London Science Museum. Science Learning Centre North East. Durham Cathedral, (Culture Awards). Maker Faire, Centre for Life, Newcastle.

People: Helen Schell, artist and costume designer. Claire Willis, Science Learning Centre, NE. Dr Lorraine Coghill, NETPark & Durham University. Susannah Aynsley & Helen Green, Arts Centre Washington.

Project: The aim of this project was to create a programme of exhibitions, community and education projects exploring smart materials and clever clothing by making unusual and experimental costumes for public display. It was short listed for the Journal Culture Awards, north east in 2013.

Smart Materials Ball-gowns:

UN-Dress2UN-Dress: This costume is a flamboyant ball gown made from a PVOH thermoplastic film which dissolves in water. It was donated by Proctor and Gamble, and is the same material that is used for dish washer capsules. This dress was commissioned by Science Learning Centre North East as part of The Fashioning Science project.


Rocket Dress 1Rocket Dress: This costume is also made from dissolving thermoplastic and felt fabrics. The rocket imagery is part of an on-going series of work about space exploration and the cosmos.


Dazzle Dress 2The Dazzle Dress: This was made from Hi Vis safety jackets creating a futuristic and unusual ball gown which reflects back light in different circumstances. Ball-gown for the Queen of the Moon. It has been shown at the London Science Museum, Newcastle Maker Faire and Durham Cathedral.

Dresses can be seen here.

Information about Arthouses events.

For general enquiries contact email:

NB: It may be cancelled if weather is very bad, but will go ahead if raining. The performance is being filmed and this will be presented at public events and shown online. Please avoid cameras if do not wish to be recorded on the film.


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