Have you ever known someone for a while, and later discovered one of their secret talents? Like, learning that a coworker sews amazing mens’ suits at night, or finding out that your retired neighbor happens to be a pool shark and travels to Vegas to compete. I love when this kind of stuff unfolds.
Last week at the Sweets & Snacks EXPO in Chicago, I came across a “Candy Never Goes Out of Style” exhibit. It was a display of couture dresses, jewelry, high-heeled pumps, and a Louis XVI chair all made out of candy wrappers and individual pieces of candy.
Turns out the dresses and accessories were created by Terese McDonald, owner of Candyality candy shops in Chicago, along with several of her staff members, siblings, and sister-in-law. The Louis XVI “sweet seat” was made by Beth Kimmerle, candy historian and author. Both Terese and Beth are friends of Candy.com, and neither came clean with their hidden talents until last week.
Terese says the “Skittles Riddles” dress (above) took her employee, Ashley Reinsmith, about 15 hours to make. (Skittles Riddles got lots of buzz at the Sweets & Snacks EXPO, winning the NCA’s Most Innovative New Product Award in the non-chocolate category.)
The matching Skittles Riddles high heels scream “Katy Perry!” …
According to Terese, the Jelly Belly Wedding Dress took the most amount of time to design and bring to life … about 50 hours. (That may have topped the time it took Sarah Burton of Alexander McQueen to create Kate Middleton’s wedding dress!) The bodice and boning accents were made with Vanilla Jelly Belly jelly beans.
Terese says two of her team members worked diligently on the Jelly Belly dress in the middle of her new Water Tower Chicago store location, while customers watched the progress.
The vibrant Wm. Wrigley Jr. 5 Gum Dress was made by Terese’s sister-in-law. Terese comes from a family of seven children and says all of her siblings and her sister-in-law have creative and artistic backgrounds. The talent pool runs deep! Terese says she and two of her sisters caught the fashion design bug two years ago when they collaborated on their first candy wrapper dress.
“We constantly study all of the current fashion trends and fashionable people, and make an inspiration board to get us going. Each dress is different as it expresses the vision of the artist,” says Terese.
Inspiration by J.Lo? This M&M’s Dress features a boho chic hat and rows and rows of wrappers cut like petals.
When asked about what happens with all the candy that gets unwrapped, Terese says, “Most companies donate the wrappers for our dresses, but from time to time, we do end up with vats of unwrapped candy. We recycle that candy because we do so many art projects in our stores. We don’t like to throw anything away.”