CDI Wins “Best In Show” at Strut 2016

Photo courtesy of Scott Detweiler

For the fourth consecutive year, Corporate Design Interiors (CDI) took home an award at the STRUT Wisconsin event hosted by IIDA WI. This year they exceeded all expectations by winning “Best In Show” for their two-piece garment representing the classic nursery rhyme “Ring Around the Rosie”.  The “Ring O’ Roses” design team, consisted of Jen Kilp, Kelly Hamilton, Aly Cleveland, Taylor Gillogly and industry collaborator, Stephanie Savage from Maharam.


This year’s theme for the annual STRUT fashion show event was “Once Upon A Time” Garments of Fictional Tales & Rhymes.  The event took place at the Turner Hall Ballroom in Milwaukee, which created a perfect backdrop to this year’s darker theme.  Watch as model, Kelly Hamilton, takes to the runway and creates an eerily beautiful display of their garment.

CDI STRUT 2016 from Corporate Design Interiors on Vimeo.

With a unanimous decision on the “Best In Show” award, it was clear to the judges that there was an incredible attention to detail with it being a complex piece requiring hundreds of hours of hand work.  “Finding the time to dedicate to the project while juggling our work/home balance was our biggest challenge” explained Jen Kilp, Director of Design for CDI. “Our concept included so many pieces and the materials were difficult to manipulate so it was a long and slow process.”

Photos courtesy of Scott Detweiler

CDI’s award-winning garment consisted of two separate pieces; the first is the cape which represents the “Posies” in the rhyme and the second is the main dress that represents the “Ashes” portion of the rhyme. The two pieces create a stark contrast between the seemingly cheery children’s rhyme of roses and the dark origin of the rhyme, depicting the macabre nature of the Black Plague.

strut-2016-cdi-cape-detailThe hooded, floor length cape consists of 8 different wool upholsteries from the Kvadrat by Maharam Divina collection, originating in Denmark. We selected a rose-colored palette which ranged from deep burgundies to rich plums to delicate shell pinks. Each flower began as a circle that was then cut into a spiral then rolled and hand stitched to secure the layers. Some of the wools were so dense that a needle nose pliers was required to pull the needle through the rolled flower. These flowers were then sorted by color and then carefully sewn onto the cape to create depth and interesting color transitions. Each flower is unique with a variety of cutting methods as well as sizes ranging from a beginning circle that was 12″ to as small as a 4″ circle. In all, our team made over a 1000 roses of which 750 were applied to the cape. We also used a light green window drapery material, Tabby by Maharam, to create small leaves which we placed sporadically between the flowers to create the illusion of small bouquets. The cape alone weighed 7.5 lbs and with the addition of the flowers, the total weight is 19.9 lbs.


The floor length dress consists of four different fabrics, including a heavy woven wool upholstery, contrasted by light window sheers. It was our goal to manipulate the fabrics to the point that they were unrecognizable from their original state, just as the plague would deconstruct the human body. The raw finishing of each of the materials helped us convey a dark and chaotic message that was a stark contrast from the beautiful flowers that were used to cover up the horrors of the plague.  The main dress is crafted from a window sheer material that we manipulated by stretching, pulling and ripping to create a tattered feel. The collar was made from a very delicate window sheer material that was cut into triangular sections, then sewn together with additional decorative stitches while leaving the edges raw and frayed. The sleeves and bottom of the dress were made from a thick woven upholstery which we deconstructed by removing all of the thick wool yarns to reveal a black understructure material that was then further deconstructed through pulling and ripping. The gray yarns were also repurposed for use in our model’s hair. We also used a raw wall-covering backing material that we dyed and shredded to create the feel of ashes.

“STRUT is a way for teams to come together to showcase the incredible design talent in our industry while stepping a little bit on the outside of our comfort zones.” replied Kilp. “I especially love seeing all of the amazing designs come together on the runway to create a spectacular show that is for a wonderful cause. As designers, we love to create and this is an opportunity to test those boundaries and shine.”

About STRUT:
Design teams from throughout Wisconsin are paired with manufacturer’s representatives from the interior design and architecture field to collaborate in creating unique, product-inspired couture. The annual STRUT event showcases fashion designs on the runway to raise money for the Ronald McDonald House Charities of WI.

About CDI:
CDI is a, WBE Certified, full service furniture dealership specializing in consulting, space planning, interior design, project management and installations of all sizes on a local, regional and national level. Their extensive product collections and value added services provide comprehensive furniture solutions that their team approaches with a passion, excitement and creativity. CDI is a “Select” Kimball Office Dealer. The “Select” status is Kimball’s premier dealer designation, which demonstrates dealership excellence in sales, service, financial stability, business processes and more.

Corporate Office & Waukesha Showroom:
1711 Paramount Ct., Waukesha, WI  53186
P  262.521.1010

Milwaukee Showroom:
191 N. Broadway, Milwaukee, WI  53202
P  414.226.6005