Lekazia Turner, embroiderer from Jamaica, 2022


(Performer at ART DUBAI)
DUBAI | 2009

SECTION OF DRESS: Stitches during installation performance

Counting the minutes inside the cube.

Kirstie was commissioned to create a piece of work for Art Dubai in 2009 and given a budget form the British Council.

With a fascination of different cultures (having grown up in various far flung countries all over the world) Kirstie had a desire to create a piece of work that would unite and bring together as many different identities as possible - without borders and prejudice - to create a platform in which women could express, feel empowered and be heard. Using a dress seemed appropriate as it is such a potent symbol of femininity, and so the Red Dress was born.

In it’s first iteration for Art Dubai there were stipulations to the shape and cut of the dress in light of Sharia law within the UAE, the dress also needed to be worn by a performer, so Kirstie was free to talk to the audience.

Sara divides her time between Dubai and the UK and enjoyed wearing the Red Dress at Art Dubai. She sat for 3 hours calmly embroidering on to the fabric, the resulting yellow stitches a lasting record of the installation many years ago.

(The Red Dress has been reassembled 3 times since 2009 – the shape and cut modified in design and to accommodate all the new embroidery. The final configuration was set in 2019).


A huge thank you to all who have given their time, energy, enthusiasm, advice, experience and financial support to the Red Dress project over the years.

In addition to the institutions below, funding has been gratefully received from a number of private donations and 441 individuals around the world via 2 Crowdfunding campaigns in 2020 and 2022.

Nothing expresses more eloquently the feelings I suspect we share about the importance of embroidery in our lives, and the support we derive from the friendships made through stitch, than Kirstie Macleod’s Red Dress.
Caroline Zoob, Editor of Stitchers Journal 2022
This beautiful object highlights the common ground between individuals, bringing together different identities and uniting people, we are honoured to contribute to it.
Tiny Kox, PACE President at the Council of Europe, Strasbourg 2023
The Red Dress has become an icon of the international textile world.
Suzanne Smith, Textile Society 2022
The Red Dress in its final incarnation, a magnificent, regal robe, symbolises the empowerment of women through the creation of something beautiful, something which began with bowed heads and tired fingers but also with faith and joy, an openness and willingness to be a part of something which they could not see at that time but in which they could believe had meaning and worth connecting with other women around the world.
Lady Alison Myners, Chair of the Royal Academy Trust 2020
The Red Dress is in some respects similar to Mail Art, the populist artistic movement centred on sending small scale works through the postal service. It initially developed out of the Fluxus movement in the 1950s and 60s – but on a larger scale – the journey of the work is part of its identity, process, and in fact function. A signifier of the temporal and physical nature of the process inherent in the creation of the piece. The surface of the dress layered with embroidery slowly transforming into a specific topographical map – completely particular to the work’s journey – and reflective of the burgeoning sculptural landscape of the object.
Paul Black, Artlyst 2015
It’s her (Kirstie’s) red silk Dupion bodice and voluminous skirt created for the Red Dress that fully demonstrates her commitment to embroidery and the immense respect for the international community of makers.
Denna Jones. Embroidery Magazine 2010
...the fact that they could embroider what they wanted and that it is appreciated has given them some strength, some confidence that I didn’t feel so strongly before they created the embroideries.
Nicole Esselan, Founder of Kisany Africa, supporting artisans in DR CONGO and RWANDA who created embroidery on the Red Dress in 2018
This is both an extraordinary work of collective art and profound and eloquent social commentary. It is also an example of how potent the Attire language is capable of becoming.
Attires Mind (Fashion Blogger) 2020
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