Audrey J. Bernard

*The whirl was introduced to Irina Shabayeva when she was a contestant on season six of Project Runway and went on to be named the grand prize winner walking off with $100,000 to launch her own line.

While a contestant on Project Runway the up-and-coming designer repeatedly wowed viewers and the judges with her bold innovativeness and passion for detail as showcased in her debut Fall 2010 collection at SIR Stage 37 during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week.

Shabayeva Fall collection was awe-inspiring.  The consummate collection was filled with intricate hand-painted prints, pheasant feather dresses and custom made aviator hats and Tupperware materials.  Yes, Tupperware.

The designer has struck a delicate balance between the ethereal and the industrial using materials from Tupperware as an alternative view to fashion and design.

Irina Shabayeva

The result was the creation of five fantastic fantasy pieces made out of Tupperware materials, in addition to many fanciful accessories on the runway as expressed in her strapless white cocktail dress made from 8 different wings of Tupperware materials; as well as the feather jersey dress with Tupperware feather earrings; and a Tupperware feather skirt.

“Knowing that Tupperware is so passionate about empowering women, it was easy to implement an element of determination into the clothing,” states Shabayeva.  “To me, fashion and the design process is liberating, fun and empowering.”

Shabayeva’s Tupperware connection came about when she was spotted by Tupperware Brands’ chairman and CEO Rick Goings.  “When we saw Irina on Project Runway, we were simply in awe of her of talent and vision.  As a company that has long been focused on innovative design, we’re thrilled to work with someone who is forward-thinking and whose work is so inspiring.”

In addition to using textile construction materials, Shabayeva balanced the hard edges and solid structures with a delicate use of sumptuous materials like soft cashmere, supple leathers, double faced wool and fur.

The cutting-edge designer was very comfortable with her copious use of hand-sewn creations of soft cashmeres, silk-screened and hand-painted wools, structurally sculpted bodices, intricate beading and flight inspired flounces.  A crowd favorite was a black glider with hand carved leather wing paired with leather panel pants.  Breathstakingly Beautiful!  (Photos courtesy Mercedes-Benz/Getty Images)

Audrey J. Bernard is an established chronicler of Black society and Urban happenings based in the New York City area.