Matthew E. Evans

It didn’t exactly occur in the blink of an eye. Try six months. New York conceptual artist Daniella Dooling sewed the first MAC Number 5 false eyelash onto the bottom of a pink silk chiffon nightgown with the intention of covering the entire garment. She thought the project would take three months and that the initial shipment of 5,000 lashes, or 2,500 boxes of pairs, would be enough to cover the 46-inch gown. “I tend to underestimate,” she laughs.

But MAC didn’t think twice about doubling the original shipment, even though, at a retail value of $7 per pair, it meant $33,250 in eyelashes. The iconoclastic cosmetics brand simply saw it as an opportunity to further epitomize the “A” in MAC. “MAC stands for Makeup-Art Cosmetics and where other companies spend money on more traditional advertising forms, we spend the same amount on creative endeavors that keep MAC connected with the artistic community,” says MAC president John Demsey

Before MAC borrows the gown, Dooling hopes to see “Night Dress” – her working title – as the centerpiece of “Sleep,” an installation that will feature her many dream-related sculptures, drawings and video works.

As unbelievable as it sounds, this type of project is nothing new for Dooling, who says her work can be “compulsive.” In 1997, she completed a piece called “Polyunguia Dress for the Psychotropic Itch,” a satin cocktail dress covered with 7,000 acrylic fingernails. A year later, she finished “Camisole,” a straitjacket with 10,000 acrylic fingernails sewn on. Both remain in private collections.

“Dream Weaver: A work of art with 9,500 false eyelashes,” from MAC
WWDBeautyBiz, September 2001