Grace DuVal is an independent fashion designer, photographer, and wearable artist. She is currently living in Chicago, IL where she is working on her master's degree in Fashion, Body and Garment at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
This blog is an account of her creations and life adventures. All content and images © Grace DuVal unless otherwise stated.
Leo horoscope for Jul 22 2014: You are just entering into a wonderful period of good luck. You feel lighter, happier, and more carefree. It seems like things are going your way more now too, Leo. You are encountering fewer problems and more interesting people. Your life feels fuller and richer. But because you are a natural protector, you are being self-protective about this new status. You may feel like it’s all a big trick by the cosmos, and that you better be prepared for some kind of problem or disappointment to appear out of the blue. But don’t be defensive. Just enjoy this safe, serene place you’re in. It won’t let you down.

Leo horoscope for Jul 22 2014: You are just entering into a wonderful period of good luck. You feel lighter, happier, and more carefree. It seems like things are going your way more now too, Leo. You are encountering fewer problems and more interesting people. Your life feels fuller and richer. But because you are a natural protector, you are being self-protective about this new status. You may feel like it’s all a big trick by the cosmos, and that you better be prepared for some kind of problem or disappointment to appear out of the blue. But don’t be defensive. Just enjoy this safe, serene place you’re in. It won’t let you down.

Melanie’s and my first evening in San Diego… basking in the sun on the beach, watching the sun set over the Pacific Ocean.

Melanie’s and my first evening in San Diego… basking in the sun on the beach, watching the sun set over the Pacific Ocean.

Let the next adventure begin! Special shout out to @mlchoate for her awesome sewing help last night, and a MAJOR thanks to @jimatv who called me multiple times this morning to make sure I was awake and leaving for my flight… Which I definitely wasn’t awake and was definitely very late for my flight. It takes a village! And now ONWARDS to San Diego, @melanie0june #SDCC, and the @heruniverse fashion show! Heeeeeeere we go! (at United Airlines - Terminal 1, Chicago O’Hare International Airport)

Let the next adventure begin! Special shout out to @mlchoate for her awesome sewing help last night, and a MAJOR thanks to @jimatv who called me multiple times this morning to make sure I was awake and leaving for my flight… Which I definitely wasn’t awake and was definitely very late for my flight. It takes a village! And now ONWARDS to San Diego, @melanie0june #SDCC, and the @heruniverse fashion show! Heeeeeeere we go! (at United Airlines - Terminal 1, Chicago O’Hare International Airport)

Stunning fabric just arrived from @sommersplastics and I swear it’s made of magic! Putting the finishing touches on everything for #SDCC and the @heruniverse fashion show!

Stunning fabric just arrived from @sommersplastics and I swear it’s made of magic! Putting the finishing touches on everything for #SDCC and the @heruniverse fashion show!

Alone in the studio screaming and dancing because I got my custom fabrics and they are beyond anything I could have imagined!

Alone in the studio screaming and dancing because I got my custom fabrics and they are beyond anything I could have imagined!

Way back in March, which is practically eons ago by my time scales, a friend suggested that I apply to a fashion show that she had read about. Clearly this wasn’t an ordinary fashion show or she wouldn’t have suggested it to me because, frankly, I don’t know how to make ordinary things. This show was sponsored by the company Her Universe, a fashion brand that specializes in geeky clothing for women… fangirl attire, if you will. They wanted to hold the first annual Geek Couture fashion show at San Diego Comic Con, and they had put out a call for submissions.

At this point in time I was deep in the process of building out a crazy creation (yet to be revealed, stay tuned in September) and was spending six or more hours every evening chipping away at this project in my room during the Polar Vortex of Chicago. While I was working on this project I was watching hours upon hours of Battlestar Galactica and was deeply engrossed in its world. So when this call for submissions came up I immediately knew what type of Geek Couture I would be aiming for.

Fast-forward through ideas and sketches, and I was accepted into the show! Now I just had to make it… I can’t show sketches of my design because it’s top secret, but soon all will be revealed. For now I will say that the dress I’m making is based off of the character Kara Thrace, who in my mind is one of the strongest female characters in television history, not just Battlestar Galactica. She is a cigar-smoking, badass fighter pilot with a soft underbelly and a mysterious life trajectory. What more could you want for inspiration? My design is based off of the sculptural elements of the flight suit she wears on her battle missions, with many different details being pulled from parts of her uniform and life. 

The Her Universe Fashion Show show happens this Thursday, July 24 at the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego, and I jet off to San Diego very, very early on Monday morning. For now I’m living in the studio, finishing up the dress and, because I can never help myself, making my own companion Battlestar Galactica dress. More life adventures soon to follow…

On my eastward journey I detoured back through the Badlands to catch another glimpse of these insane geological formations. Taking back roads I cut across a long, dirt road to meet up with the Badlands loop road. Trekking adventurously in my rental car, I drove through herds of cows grazing in the road, cutting across open grasslands that stood at the feet of the Badlands.

Slowly the towering walls of dusty rock crept into view, rising before me in astonishing formations. My car climbed the hills of colored rock, and I was engulfed inside of these rock formations as I drove. The Badlands never get old, they never wear thin, you can see them again and again and the awe never fades. And so, with fresh awe I looked out over the flat land beyond these formations, standing on the edge of the world.

On my journey from Montana to Salt Lake, and then back through the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone, I knew I wanted to meet back up with Montana Shakespeare in the Parks on their remarkable adventures. I had my trusty little MSIP schedule in hand and quickly found where our paths could intersect in Miles City, Montana. From the mouth of Old Faithful I jetted northbound through the mountains, making a pitstop in Bozeman to pick up merchandise and supplies for the actors, and then hit the road eastward. After four hours of nonstop driving I pulled into the park in Miles City, greeted by the looming silhouette of the set amongst a grove of trees. It felt like coming home.

I immediately sprinted up the hill beyond the stage, running straight to the mouth of the Yellowstone river to release some energy and take in the wonderful place I had, yet again, found myself. Every step of this journey has been an endless series of realizations about how fortunate I am and how truly wonderful my life is, a life that I have made and shaped through my own decisions and actions. It is powerful to realize you have the control in your own future and destination, and here I found myself, meeting up with a world-class theater company in a windy grove in Miles City, MT at the side of the Yellowstone River.

I found myself a spot in the audience and one by one found the cast members, since only two of my friends knew I was coming. There was surprise and hugs before everyone had to start the show. Seeing Romeo and Juliet again after two weeks on the road was fascinating. Since the time they left the show has matured and evolved into a much more natural portrayal of events. It is so fascinating to see how each of the actors has worked with their characters and scenes and how fluidly it has matured. They themselves told me I would see a massive change, and it was clear that concepts and feelings about the show had solidified cohesively.

The wind blew through the grove of trees, the sunlight danced across the stage, and as the light started to fade the nearly full moon rose behind the set, illuminating Juliet in her final soliloquies. This was the epitome of theater, the bringing together of people from all different backgrounds to share in the telling of a life-changing story. You can do nothing but sit mesmerized as the telling unfolds, the wind whipping through your hair in the warm night breeze.

After the show was finished the set came down with practiced speed, pieces methodically lined up to be loaded into the Whale for tomorrow’s next excursion. I went back to my hotel and met up with everyone later in the evening, where we went to a bar in downtown Miles City to catch up. It was a great evening, swapping stories of where we’ve all been since we last saw each other, planning for meet-ups in Chicago once we’re all back together.

New friends, instant connections, wild west adventures. This is what my life is made of.