Duck’s Duct Tape Wear Highlights Union Prom

Contributing Editor

BEST DRESSED: Union High School’s Kimberly Timmons with her escort Christian Price as they showcase their duct tape wear made exclusively for this year’s prom. Kimberly designed the outfits as part of a promotion for the Duck brand duct tape company.

DAVID JONES for GTR Newspapers

What should the well-dressed fairy tale princess wear?
Silks and satins, certainly, with a judicious sprinkling of lace.
Perhaps the threads of a spider web artfully sewn.

In Disney’s “Cinderella,” the heroine was adorned in a gorgeous item concocted out of odds and ends by friendly birds and mice. When that dress was destroyed her fairy godmother replaced it seemingly out of thin air.

So what is the modern princess to wear?

How about duct tape?

Not just duct tape wrapped around the body in a haphazard fashion but duct skillfully put together to look like a Hollywood creation, in this case modeled after the clothes Amy Adams wore in the movie “Enchanted.”

That’s the item Kimberly Timmons has concocted for a contest sponsored for the Duck brand duct tape company.

(For those with a historical curiosity, duct tape was originally duck tape, as in water off a duck’s back. Invented during World War II to give a waterproof seal to ammunition boxes, it was discovered it could hold a whole lot of things together. Originally tinted green to fit in with the military uniform, its color and its name was changed after the war when returning GIs in the housing business found it was just the thing for connecting heating and cooling ducts in the multitude of new houses that had to be built.)

It isn’t that Kimberly has gone daffy over duct tape. There is a rather sizeable prize connected to it. The Duck duct tape company is offering a $3,000 prize to the best prom dress made of duct tape. The maker gets $3,000, the “date” gets $3,000 and the school gets $3,000. Needless to say, Union High School is cheering for Kimberly.

It did require some lobbying. Kimberly quickly lined up a partner named Christian Price who was perfectly willing to be dressed as, who else, Prince Charming. But school proms are proper affairs and any old sort of dress simply will not do, so Kimberly had to get permission from the Union school board to come to the prom looking like she was lacking only seven dwarfs. The school board was, happily, most understanding.

So now began the building of the costume. Between Kimberly and Christian some 50 rolls of blue and silver (duct tape comes in a wide variety of colors) tape were used with each roll containing 15 or 20 yards of tape.

Now one can imagine that putting on a dress made of duct tape might be easy enough, but peeling it off could be a killer. Hence Kimberly came up with the plan of putting the sticky sides of two pieces of duct tape against each other leaving the outside, the non-sticky side, front and back.

To make Christian’s costume, Kimberly wrapped him in regular clear tape, then cut him out of it and spread the tape on the floor.

Her own dress took more experimentation. She originally designed a dress that was more Coco Chanel than Cinderella, so she quickly wrapped newspapers around it giving her a sort of latest news petticoat and then put an outer layer of tape skirt around it.

The time involved? “You know that week no one could go to school because of the ice storm?” she asks. “I worked on it that week all day every day. I expect I have about 200 hours of labor in these costumes.”

Part of the time was taken with the accessories. Look at the picture and see the little silver dots on the costume. Those were made with a punch shaped like a butterfly and each had to be produced individually.

But the dress and Prince Charming’s outfit are now completed. They are fully suitable to a waltz or a minuet but anything calling for more exertion might be discouraged. The dress weighs 25 pounds, Christian’s outfit weighs in at 15 pounds.

It is not the easiest of ensembles in which to move around. Common needs such as sitting down, putting on shoes or heading to the ladies room are going to take on the aura of adventure.

And where will all this duct tape dressmaking lead Kimberly? She is attending Roadhouse Aviation Flying School to get her pilot’s license. She will be taking aviation maintenance at Tulsa Technology Center in the autumn, a class that should provide her with all kinds of excuses to use duct tape.

Then, ultimately, she wants to be an airline pilot. As such she will wear a uniform. It will be made of cloth.

Updated 04-21-2008

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