What do you get when you cross the most famous granodiorite stele and a whole lot of style? Our newest design: The Rosetta Stone Dress! Here’s everything you need to know about our second archaeology themed dress, how it came to be, and what we’re planning next.
You may have seen us ask on Twitter, Instagram, and right here on the site to let us know if there’s a field you’d like us to add to the Women in STEM collection. Recently, an Egyptologist did just that and offered up some pyramid-sized inspiration to our owner and designer, Holly. The Rosetta Stone Dress is the first of two (you heard that right! Stay tuned!) Egypt-inspired additions to emerge from our boutique atelier.
Holly dug deep to come up with a design that reflected significant discoveries in the field that she could translate into a chic Shenova design. The ancient stone, carved in black granodiorite and bearing three inscriptions that held the key to unlocking the meaning of the ancient Egyptian language and its hieroglyphic script, was the undeniably perfect answer.
Holly’s translation from rock to frock carries with it the three texts, written in Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic script, Demotic script, and ancient Greek. She’s also recast the missing fragments of the stele with a black neckline that imitates the asymmetrical break in the original, and the digitally printed mid-weight stretch fabric makes it the ultimate comfortable and classic little black dress with an elegantly nerdy twist.
The real Rosetta Stone was erected and inscribed after the coronation of King Ptolemy V, and includes instructions to place a copy in every temple, each etched in the “language of the gods” (hieroglyphs), the “language of documents” (demotic), and the “language of the Greeks.” For an up-close look, you’ll find the stone on display in Room 4 of the British Museum.
If you can’t make it to the British Museum, you’re not entirely without options: you can take a look and a tour around the museum with Google Streetview or explore it from all angles with this 3D scan. Of course, we’re partial to option #3: wear it!
This is not the first archaeology inspired dress from Shenova. In 2015, Holly was referred to Elizabeth Lee, Vice President for Programs and Development for CyArk, to design a dress for her pitch for South by Southwest's (SXSW) Eco 2015 Place by Design (which, btw, she TOTALLY won!)
CyArk is a non-profit organization which uses lasers and point clouds to digitally scan world cultural heritage sites, preserving them in a 3D online library before they are lost to natural disasters or destroyed by humans. It was in these scans from CyArk’s database that Holly found her inspiration for Liz’s dress.
Using images of the Jerash Amphitheater in Jordan and Shenova’s classic panel dress as the base, she created a digital mockup and, one week later, Liz had a one-of-a-kind dress to wear as she took the stage to pitch (and win!) the Data & Tech Category. You can read more about the design, CyArk, and see Liz’s SXSW pitch here.
If you’re heading into wedding season without a trusty little black dress to back you up, or just looking for something chic for a museum outing or conference, the Rosetta Stone dress has got you covered from neck to knee in super comfortable, wrinkle-resistant style. Remember to allow 2-3 weeks for production time in addition to shipping when you order.
We’ve been talking a lot lately about how fashion goes far beyond being decoration and can serve as a tool of empowerment, and we’d love to partner with you to expand our reach into more fields. We have dresses portraying Earth and dresses depicting Mars, and two dresses with the rocket blueprints that can get us there. Dresses bedecked in code and others covered in blood. Well, red blood cells, at least.