Vesselation — Designer and model: Susan Huey

Designer and model: Susan Huey. © UC Regents.
Designer and model: Susan Huey. © UC Regents.
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Designer’s statement: The heart is the hardest working organ in the body. We need to protect, care and defend the instrument that gives us the power and endurance to live. The sweetheart-shaped dress represents the strong structure of the heart. It is constructed with a solid woven material to give form to the body. The glitter-patterned tulle waterfalls from the hips to the floor, giving the dress full movement and flare. The patterned tulle mimics the characteristic of veins, and is triple-layered on the godets to provide a three-dimensional illustration of veins flowing through a body. The exterior of the dress represents a vital heart and veins that pump blood through the circulatory system. The full composition of the dress is the physical representation of the veins and heart and symbolizes the wearer herself, who is strong and persevering.

Transylvanian Moon — Designer and model: Jenny Chen

Designer and model: Jenny Chen. © UC Regents.
Designer and model: Jenny Chen. © UC Regents.
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Designer’s statement: The aesthetics of my dress are inspired by imagery of the stake through Dracula’s heart. In folklore, the heart has been a universal motif for life, and a point of weakness. The black beaded lace overlay represents the physiological vulnerabilities of the heart, and the emotional weight strong women carry everyday. My asymmetric design shifts the focal point to the left side, reflecting the anatomy of the heart, with the left side larger to pump oxygenated blood throughout the body. I chose taffeta as the main fabric, because of its sensitivity to light. It typically appears bright red, but may seem darker at different angles. This effect mirrors the movement of blood through the heart the same way blood changes color as it receives and transmits oxygen.

Growth — Designer and model: Dee Dee Yang

Designer and model: Dee Dee Yang. © UC Regents.
Designer and model: Dee Dee Yang. © UC Regents.
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Designer’s statement: This red dress was inspired by the idea of the upward movement of life as represented by a growing flower.

The panels that make up bottom of the dress are flower petals, and the curved panels on top are the flower’s stigma and stamen. Though the visual composition of the dress is a growing flower, it has a deeper meaning.

This dress represents the growth of heart disease, as well as growing awareness and knowledge of this disease. This, in turn, contributes to growing efforts to prevent it.

Ruby Angel — Designer: Dennis Liu & Model: Mariah Heller

Designer: Dennis Liu; Model: Mariah Heller. © UC Regents.
Designer: Dennis Liu; Model: Mariah Heller. © UC Regents.
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Designer’s statement: Heart disease is the number one killer of women. This sounds extremely daunting. In hope of giving strength to those with heart disease, I present Ruby Angel. The heart should not be chained by worries of malady. It should be free to beat, free to feel and free to love. For this dress, I express this feeling of freedom. With wings of love, women can go anywhere they please, without being dragged down by fear, and they can feel bold, strong and confident. Victims of heart disease go through distress, yet they can pull through. This dress is a testament to the immense strength, courage and love that these women possess.

The Heart Tree — Designer and model: Douagee Cheng

Designer and model: Douagee Cheng. © UC Regents.
Designer and model: Douagee Cheng. © UC Regents.
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Designer’s statement: The cherry blossom tree is a Japanese cultural icon that represents the fragility of life. Each year during the cherry blossom festival, people gather to appreciate and celebrate the blooming of the blossoms. During the festival, everyone is reminded of how precious and spontaneous life is. Through this analogy, my dress has a coil basket that depicts the cherry blossom tree wrapped around a red dress. The red dress symbolizes the heart and life, and draws the eyes to the blossoms. The blossoms symbolize the heart that provides for our bodies. Like the cherry blossom tree, I want my dress to serve as a reminder of how fragile the heart is, and as a reminder to take care the heart through healthy eating and exercise.

Lotus' Perseverance — Designer and model: Betty Chen

Designer and model: Betty Chen. © UC Regents.
Designer and model: Betty Chen. © UC Regents.
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Designer’s statement: This red dress expresses optimism for patients with cardiovascular disease. In creating it, I was inspired by the lotus flower. In Chinese culture, the lotus represents perseverance and positivity because it blooms strongly and beautifully despite an unappealing and unpleasant environment. This flower endures and survives stunningly, despite unfavorable conditions. I want to encourage patients with heart disease to stay positive, even with difficult symptoms and treatments. My dress visually represents the simplicity and elegance of the lotus flower. It is a short cocktail dress with an ombre-tiered, light-to-dark skirt. It is made mainly of organza to exemplify the shape and positivity of the lotus.

Golden Traditions — Designer and model: Mai Vang

Designer and model: Mai Vang. © UC Regents.
Designer and model: Mai Vang. © UC Regents.
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Designer’s statement: Golden Traditions represents the golden hearts of women with heart disease and those who continue to fight despite their difficult situations. Originating from farmlands, the Hmong community once relied solely on herbal medicines and heavily placed their faith on spiritual healing. Today, through the exposure of modern medicine and technology, the Hmong community has been given a golden opportunity to merge the modern science while maintaining their faiths in herbal and spiritual healing. This red dress is a symbol of that alliance – it merges the styles of today’s modernism while maintaining aspects of a traditional dress. It is both a symbol of the strength and the perseverance of the many victims of heart disease, and a message of awareness. In order to keep traditions alive, one must be aware of the inevitable changes in our lives and our health; raising awareness of heart disease is that first critical step toward saving both lives and traditions. The more awareness we create, the greater the impact we have.

Trumpeter for the Heart — Designer and model: Maria Nicole Tonelli

Designer and model: Maria Nicole Tonelli. © UC Regents.
Designer and model: Maria Nicole Tonelli. © UC Regents.
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Designer’s statement: My red dress is a celebration of life and heart. First and foremost, I was inspired by the trumpeter swan. As a symbol of love, this majestic creature encompasses the essence of life. I also drew upon the world of ballet. The classical ballet “Swan Lake” inspired my design, due to the complexity of the ballet’s plot that is both obscure and hopeful in nature. These themes parallel the lives of those struggling, but also yearning to live. For these reasons, my red dress is a synthesis of two ideals. I incorporated pleats and feathers into my design to symbolize the wings of a swan. At the same time, the silhouette combines corsetry and tiers of silk chiffon to simulate the look of traditional ballet costumes.

Cameo Dress — Designer and model: Rumiko Adame

Designer and model: Rumiko Adame. © UC Regents.
Designer and model: Rumiko Adame. © UC Regents.
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Designer’s statement: A cameo – or small character played by a well-known actor or actress – is the theme of my red dress. For many years, women have played “cameo” roles in society. They are often overlooked by the government and society as a whole; however, they have been essential to life in households.

The classic look in the back – including the bustle – represents important women in history such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott, who fought for women’s rights and for social reform. The front displays a more contemporary look, with a cameo cut-out to represent women of today, who continue the fight for social reforms and equality for women as well as for awareness of heart disease, the number one killer of women in this country.

Thebes — Designer and model: Shreya Carey

Designer and model: Shreya Carey. © UC Regents.
Designer and model: Shreya Carey.  © UC Regents.
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Designer’s statement: Ancient Egyptians believed that the heart, or “Ib,” was an essential component for proceeding to the afterlife. For this reason, they left this organ intact during mummification. It is this method of preservation that allowed for modern scientists to later on excavate Princess Ahmose Meryet Amon and diagnose her with what is regarded today as the oldest known case of heart disease.  The royal’s mummified body and tomb helped provide information on the origins of heart disease, and led to research on its prevention. To pay tribute to this powerful woman from Thebes, my dress design incorporates elements of ancient Egypt. The base of the dress replicates the figure of a mummy and the draping is reminiscent of traditional wrappings. The red color and current fashion details serve to further raise awareness about heart disease and empower women of today.