With Mark Twain’s famous quote in mind, Leanne Prussing, stylist to the stunning Australian pianist/composer/singer Fiona Joy, went to work to find the perfect dress for Fiona to wear for her Signature Solo album cover. She knew from the moment she found a Madeline Newport pink silk vintage dress, that her search was over. She didn’t remotely realize what larger part the dress would play, but it has become a testament to the power of a great dress.
‘The Pink Dress’ as aptly named by Fiona, seems to love the camera, and has become a metaphor for her unique musical approach…feminine, yet strong, and a bit mysterious. Projecting three very different moods across the three album covers, the dress easily adapts in all media, taking on a persona of its own in photos, paintings and in four music videos. “I love the way the dress transitions through each look, having a sort of identity of its own,” Fiona says. With Fiona’s songs now getting over two million Pandora hits per month, the dress has certainly opened Pandora’s music box!
“From design to structure, this dress ‘fits’ in every way…it truly captures Fiona’s magical and timeless essence, and almost becomes an ethereal portal to her expression of the feminine spirit,” says Hollywood-based Macha Bennet-Shephard of Chichi Personal Image Development. Commentary on the luxurious style & structure of other Madeline Newport dresses have emerged in top vintage design blogs like PearlButton.com, yet no one seems to know anything about the mysterious designer.
Appropriately so, songs in Fiona’s Signature Series of albums have a modern fairytale theme, and listening to the sophisticated mystical contemporary music is a bit like falling down a rabbit hole. A journey unfolds across Fiona’s recent albums, and on each, a different scene featuring The Pink Dress; it even withstands a dip in the ocean in one of the videos.
“In this series, I wanted to explore the idea of maintaining magic in our lives,” Fiona says, “…even when life itself gets in the way. There are simple lullabies, heart-wrenching laments, whispers of hope, and the occasional dragon…all of these things occur throughout the life of a woman. Sometimes, we cling to the things that help us through: a memento, a poem, or even a dress.”
On the cover of Signature Solo (beautifully simple solo piano works) – Fiona walks toward us across a railway bridge looking whimsical while flirting with disaster in a the vivid pink dress. By contrast, the cover for the more complex, fully-instrumental Signature Synchronicity is a painting of Fiona running away in it, through a somewhat apocalyptic scene toward the ocean. The covers both juxtapose beauty and fear, hinting at the seriousness of the stories behind the music, the gravity of so many women’s seemingly perfect lives. Musically, for instance, Fiona expresses suffering and renewal after great loss in her poignant song “Grace,” which was re-mixed for the recent Grammy®-winning album Winds of Samsara.
On the third album cover, Into the Mist — an uplifting and transcendental album recorded in hi-resolution at Blue Coast Records — the dress is a muted pink as Fiona walks into the fog, creating a somber mood with a strangely hopeful twist. Are Fiona’s struggles behind her now? Is it time to retire this faithful dress to storage? Not quite. Fiona’s fans want to see The Pink Dress come to life in its first stage appearance in China this July, because it has become so symbolic of her musical journey.
Racking up enough global adventures to rival The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, one might wonder if the mysterious designer — Madeline Newport — is living through this enchanted dress, literally supporting a modern female composer with the unique ability to tell her own story…of quality dresses, lovingly made for magical times. We will know more this summer, when Fiona returns to Vermont to collaborate on a new album at the legendary producer Will Ackerman’s studio, aptly named Imaginary Road….a perfect destination for mystery, inspiration and The Pink Dress.