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Copyright © 2003 Express Publishing Inc.
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Friday ó March 19, 2004

Weekend Living

Designer offers
chance to wear
Sun Valley history

Express Staff Writer

This spring fashion magazines scream, "Prints are in!" Magazines such as Elle, Vogue and Vanity Fair tease the fashion savvy with bold patterns splattered across their pages. Most fashion enthusiasts struggle trying to keep up with trends like this seasonís bold prints, but Wood River Valley designer Vickey Hanson of Mountain Dreamworks in Ketchum is leading the battle. She has created bold patterns that incorporate historical Sun Valley elements.

In her fashion forward skirts, wraps and scarves in eye catching ski-themed prints, sheís fulfilling her "dream to take colors and textures of the local environment, and reproduce them into wearable art."

Vickey Hanson models a skirt she created from a picture she took near River Run, while showing off a scarf she created from a vintage map of Sun Valley.

Each print begins as a photograph. Some of graphics originate from vintage ski photographs, others as images of Wood River Valley landscapes that Hanson captures with her digital camera. Hanson remarked that she likes to work with the natural textures in the valley such as "the aspens, mountains, streams and even lichen on river rocks."

Hanson uses her computer to digitally enhance natural Idaho textures and manipulate vintage photographs into stimulating patterns. She prints her designs from her Epson 10000 printer onto silk chiffon in her Ketchum studio. After rinsing the silks, she sews the chiffon into skirts, wraps and scarves.

The nature of Hansonís digital textile printing technique holds incredible potential. In theory, Hanson explained, she could "take a picture on Baldy in the morning, design and wear it later in the evening."

The Mountain Dreamworks patterns are all excitingly whimsical, tasteful and reflective of the skiing lifestyle. One of Hansonís newest patterns appears to be a tropical floral pattern. More than a cursory glance at the pink flowers reveals a female skier in soft green goggles repeated four times in a fan pattern against a pink background to create the illusion of flower petals. A brown polka dot pattern compliments the flower illusion to complete the print. The irony of a skier incorporated into a tropical floral pattern illustrates the depth of Hansonís artistic talent and understanding of pattern design.

In another skirt, Hanson bordered silk chiffon with a vintage photograph of women on skis. Hanson cropped the original photo of a group of skiers standing atop Dollar Mountain in the 1940s. She then multiplied the image many times to create the graphic. The women border white snowflakes that are the backdrop for a smiling woman riding an early chair lift at the center. Hanson explained she "tones the patterns to mountain living." All of the patterns whimsically incorporate mountain elements and celebrate women in skiing.

Another textile print titled "Le Ski" centers on a woman waving from a chair lift with snow covered mountains in the distance. Hanson repeats the skier in leather boots giving a mirage of multiple female skiers riding in the sky.

The high-end silk creations come in skirts, wraps and scarves. Hanson said she "recycles existing pieces to fulfill what is in my mind." She sews recycled waistbands into her designs to complete the skirts. Other pieces are worn as wraps. Photographs in the store demonstrate the number of ways the silk wraps can be worn as stylish statements.

The silks are teasingly translucent. Hanson suggests wearing her creations over leggings, pants or slips. The flirty fabrics make each piece inherently feminine objects of desire.

The stimulating patterns are found on pieces sold in Ketchum stores like Boca Mountain, Silver Creek Outfitters, through the Sun Valley Company and Hansonís Mountain Dreamworks store


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The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.