— Wardrobe Envy

This artist is redefining what it means to shop for a dress

We hate to admit it, but shopping for dresses can often be a harrowing experience, especially in a one-size-fits-all society. If it’s the right fit on our shoulders, then the waist might not fit, and all too often, a dress that looks fantastic in the fitting room is demoted to back of the closet IRL.

But not all dresses are created equal. In fact, some are works of art.

Brooklyn designer Lital Dotan is reinventing the way women shop for and wear dresses. The dressmaker, who owns Williamsburg-based boutique Que sal mah, is obsessed with creating one-of-a-kind pieces that double as performance art. According to her boutique’s website: “Each item is created individually by Lital Dotan on her body and embraces the essence of performance dressmaking. Using a special padding technique in order to fit different sizes and body forms Lital sculpts her body for each dress.”


But not every dress Dotan designs is crafted on her own body. She’s decided to expand on the idea of wearable performance art by offering dresses made for each customer’s body. According to local news site DNA Info, women come in to her store and have a single piece of fabric transformed into a unique frock – all while she’s wearing it.

“She comes in for the experience rather than to purchase the dress,” she told the side. “It ends wth the garment, the dress. But that’s a documentation and manifestation of the process that she went through.”


DNAInfo’s Serena Dai models the fabric before the dress is made.

Making these elaborate dresses started out as a hobby for Dotan, who began snipping and sewing these gowns in 2007. Friends then began asking her to make dresses for them, and her business was officially born.

Dotan has filmed herself making her own dresses (slightly NSFW) in places as exotic as the Dead Sea, using only a plain white fabric and a pair of shears as her way to make a dreamlike dress.


Dotan in one of her performance art dress-making videos.

For her customers, Dotan offers a bevy of dress designs and styles, from formal to quotidian, asking the women about fit preferences and what season she’ll be wearing the garment, according to DNA Info.

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