A De Montfort University fashion student has won plaudits from the team at Vogue for recreating a Valentino haute couture dress in sparkly tinsel.

Sallyanne Kirk used lockdown to create her own version of a sweeping gown from the Italian designer’s autumn 2020 collection.

And she used her 18-year-old daughter Tate to model it – first dressing her in a green screen body suit, then using a stapler and glue gun to attach the tinsel, and finally trimming it to shape.

She created and shot the look at Leicester’s HQ Recording Studio, owned by Sallyanne’s partner Yasin El Ashrafi, because it was the only place with a high enough ceiling.

Sallyanne’s was one of 20 looks selected by Vogue – including one by former Victoria’s Secret Angel model Heidi Klum.

The fashion magazine had invited its readers to recreate their favourite looks at home for Paris Couture Week, which took place online due to the pandemic.

Sallyanne, a fashion communication and styling student at De Montfort University, and 44-year-old mum-of-two, said: “I was feeling fed up and in need of a new project, so I decided to enter the competition with just two days to go.

“As someone who’s been reading Vogue since I was 10 years old, I’m still pinching myself. It’s the ultimate platform to be on.

“When the winners were announced in the USA it was around 1am here – my Instagram account went mad and I was awake for hours.

“Both Valentino’s creative director, who is my hero, and Heidi Klum commented on my look. I had hundreds of new followers, it was all so insane.”

Inspired by some green tinsel streamers in her craft cupboard, Sallyanne felt confident that she could recreate the look she wanted.

She said: “I absolutely love Valentino and was obsessed with the autumn 2020 collection.

“It was all about long gowns suspended in mid-air and lasers and images projected on them. Seeing something so magical in lockdown was really inspiring, so I was excited to have a go.

“My look had to be sustainable though – I wanted to use what I already had instead of buying new stuff.

“Luckily, I love throwing fun parties for my kids and I never chuck any of the props out.

“Our house doesn’t have high enough ceilings, so we went to the studio because I wanted it to look as best as it could.

“There was tinsel everywhere and I had to take photos and videos really quickly as I was scared of the dress falling apart and Tate had been standing on a stool for hours.

“It’s so lovely that I get to share this success with my daughter. She’s been doing bits of modelling and I’ve always said to her that she’ll be in Vogue one day. Now we both are and it’s amazing.

“If this experience has taught me anything it’s to take a chance because you just never know.

“You’ve got nothing to lose and you just might win. I’m so glad I just went for it.”

Sallyanne Kirk’s tinsel dress on the left and the original Valentino haute couture version

Sallyanne worked in advertising for 10 years before enrolling at DMU to embark on a second degree.

When Covid-19 struck near the end of her first year, she decided to take a year out from her studies due to the childcare challenges presented by the pandemic.

As well as home schooling her young son and leading HQ Recording’s marketing and social media activity, Sallyanne has also been interning with designer Christoph Ritter, helping him with his London Fashion Week collection.

She said: “Despite coronavirus, it’s been a really busy year with some amazing opportunities that I’m really grateful for.

“I’ve still got a fashion film with Christoph and lots of music video shoots for HQ Recording to look forward to as well.

“Ultimately though, I’m really excited about getting back to DMU later this year.

“I’ve missed it so much and I can’t wait to get stuck into my degree again. I had the best first year and made friends for life despite coronavirus cutting it short.”

Her design is to be featured on Vogue.com, as well as @voguemagazine and @voguerunway on Instagram.





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