Thursday, February 29, 2024 Feb 29, 2024
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Michaelangelo Pistoletto’s Venus of the Rags as Fashion Muse

By Dawn Marie Mellon |


Michelangelo Pistoletto, 
Venus of the Rags
, 1967
, via

By Dawn Marie Mellon


After spending 10 days in Italy, I was hoping to return to Dallas and share with you my incredible insight into the European fashion scene. I imagined knowing what the most glamorous women in Venice wore as they sailed in gondolas with handsome, sun-drenched Italian songbirds at the helm. I thought I’d be able to describe, in terrific detail, the outfit selected by a striking Italian woman sipping Cappuccino with her lover in a small cafe in the country’s capital city.

Instead, I quickly realized all of those women were ‘on holiday’ at the beach, and the women I encountered were tourists, just like me. Somewhere between the water taxies in Venice and the sweltering heat in Rome, fashion gave way to practicality.

Sad, but true.


However, when I saw Michaelangelo Pistoletto’s famous Venus of the Rags, I knew I had found my inspiration. There it was, situated right smack in the middle of the ancient ruins of Rome: a very out-of-place, colorful pile of seemingly modern-day clothing watched over by the Goddess of Love, Beauty and Fertility. But, clearly, she was no longer in love with her wardrobe.


Perhaps, she liked the simplicity of her white toga; maybe I was mistaken, and everything in the pile was actually intended for the dry cleaners; or, I’d like to fantasize, she read the article I posted last week and decided everything she owned, sans the toga, was not flattering to her figure and she was going to start anew. And, maybe, just to make the story more intriguing, Pistoletto captured her in the moment before she set her wardrobe ablaze, establishing a precedent for the feminists who would one day follow in her footsteps, dangling their bras over fires set in “Freedom Trash Cans.”

Hard to know for sure.

But, I do think it’s possible you’re taking a closer look at your wardrobe and discarding some of the pieces you now know aren’t meant for your body type. If so, please don’t add pyromaniac to your list of credentials. Instead, here are some far safer ways to discard your unwanted items.

Make a Beeline for  Our Local Consignment Shops
We are very fortunate to have some great consignment stores in the Dallas area, including Clotheshorse Anonymous and Clothes Circuit.  Simply bring your unwanted threads – clean and on hangers – to one of these stores, or other such shops in the area, and, if deemed potentially salable, the store will market them on your be half and split a portion of the sales price, if your pieces sell within an agreed upon period of time.

Try Your Hand at Online Consignment
Aside from physical consignment stores, there are on-line consignment stores, such as,  that provide the same service as their brick and mortar counterparts but with the added benefit of exposing your pieces to a wider audience.

Donate Your Duds to Women in Need
If you think your clothes may benefit other women, then organizations such as Attitudes and Attire (A & A) will gladly accept your donation. A & A, based in the Dallas Market Center, aims at equipping women in need with the skills and confidence necessary to lead a successful and productive life through workshops and a new wardrobe. Donations can be made at the agency’s “boutique” or at any Bibbentuckers Dry Cleaners.

Host A Clothing Swap
Finally, if you believe in the adage ‘One (wo)man’s trash is another (wo)man’s treasure,” then consider hosting a Second-Time Around Party during which your friends bring their ‘pile’ and, perhaps, a bottle of vino and you engage in the ancient form of commerce, bartering.  Even if you don’t find any treasures, it’s a good excuse to get together with your girlfriends. After the party, you can arrange for St. Vincent DePaul to pick up left over items, so your friends don’t have to move their piles one more time and so you’re not tempted to ignite a Freedom Trash Can of your own.


Dawn Mellon is a Dallas-based fashion stylist and mother of two teenagers, Andrew and Erica, known for effortlessly dressing some of our fair city’s loveliest ladies for all manner of tony appearances. Over the next few months, the fashion maestro will be joining us here on D Moms daily to share her expertise on how to build a killer wardrobe and don it with confidence. 

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