For fashion fans, watching awards shows can be difficult. Want that Gucci gown Dakota Johnson wore to the Golden Globes? Tough, it’s custom and it’ll cost you — big time. But Aussie actor Lachlan Martin has found an innovative way to ease his high-fashion covetousness: by remaking red carpet looks from household items.
“My friends are all getting married and buying houses, and I’m like ‘look, I made a dress out of a shower curtain!’” Martin’s Instagram bio reads. And he’s not exaggerating.
The Aussie’s feed is filled with gorgeous gowns that, upon first glance, one probably wouldn’t realize are made of plastic bags and bathmats until closer inspection. “It started as a joke between a friend and I,” he tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “We were watching the Golden Globes [in 2016] and weren’t particularly inspired by anything on the red carpet, so we had a quick competition to see who could create the best runway look using only things in the living room.” His creation was a “horrible green, blue, white and gray blanket” crafted into a gown.
“We posted them on Facebook and they were a big hit with my friends,” he recalls. “I did a couple more for the next few red carpet events and was eventually encouraged to start up an Instagram account and it was here that I could connect with drag queens and creative types from all walks of life, across the world.”
Now, two years later, the account dedicated to his designs, named the Tilley Project, has more than 14k followers.
Martin, who “adores” fashion, comes up with his own designs a lot of the time, but also recreates looks. “Sometimes it’s the actual item itself,” he says of what inspires him. For example, he managed to recreate Celine Dion’s extravagant 2017 Billboard Awards gown that was designed by Stephane Rolland. You know, the one with the huge shoulders that she wore to sing “My Heart Will Go On.” And his reiteration was so accurate, the only difference was that his was made of a “bed sheet for the bottom half, two socks for the sleeves, two pillow cases and recycled foam packing to create the puffy top half.”
He’s also inspired by Lady Gaga; drag queens (“Milk and Sasha Velour in particular”); and “fashion designers/labels such as Alexander McQueen, Jean-Paul Gaultier and Romance Was Born.”
His favorite design so far is his Rainbow Flag dress made from Vogue magazines. “It was created to celebrate our Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras here in Australia,” he says. “An expression of pride to be whoever you want to be and yelling it to the world. I love being part of the LGBTIQ+ community and the Tilley Project is my way of inspiring people to be confident in the weird and wonderful quirks that we all have.”
That inspiring and stunningly colorful strapless gown took days to create, however on average he “can have the outfit created along with a photo shoot in under an hour.”
Yet the Vogue piece wasn’t even the hardest to create. That award goes to the two-piece skirt and crop top ensemble made out of IKEA bags. “There was a lot of work in the construction of the garment and it was very tight, so super hard to move in. Especially as I take my photos on a timer and have to click, run and pose,” he explains. The blue outfit consisted of a super tight pencil skirt with a yellow peplum ruffle, and the shirt was off the shoulder.
He once used Glad saran wrap to create an outfit with a bow for a shirt and transparent boots for RuPaul’s Drag Race , and a tablecloth to make a gorgeous lace gown for the Oscars. For Australia’s Election Day in 2016, he wore a dress made entirely of neckties.
What’s next? A bath towel outfit with earrings made of loofas? Oh wait, he’s already done that.