When you think of parachutes, generally only three things come to mind: opening one after you jump out of a plane, failing to open one after jumping out of a plane or those crazy "exercise" routines from elementary school. I am going to go out on a limb and say, in generally, no one thinks, "A parachute would make a lovely dress." That is, no one but Ann Mahoney and designer Andrew Dyrdahl.
Ann will be hitting the red carpet for The Walking Dead Season 6 premiere in just such a dress.... made from a recycled military parachute. As if that isn't amazing enough on its own, there is a beautiful family story Ann recently learned about from her mother-in-law, that gives this incredible dress deep meaning. As not to take anything away from the story by trying to paraphrase, I will share Ann's own words.:
"When I found Andrew Dyrdahl, and saw his amazing recycled parachute dresses, I knew it was exactly what I wanted in a premiere dress. This was about 3 months ago. 3 DAYS ago, my mother-in-law called me and said she wanted to tell me something about my parachute dress.
I called her, and this normally very stoic woman told me an astonishing story. In 1945, in Hungary, she was 12 years old. She survived the Holocaust, but she and her family (what was left of it) had NOTHING. The American allies were dropping parachutes all over Hungary for the American troops – filled with all kinds of supplies. These were orangey-red parachutes, and they usually came with a map of the area inside of the parachute, along with the typical supplies.
The Holocaust survivors would gather up these parachutes after the American troops fetched their supplies – and guess what? These people who had survived this horrific event in history, made CLOTHING out of those parachutes.
When my mother-in-law told me this, I got chills up and down my spine. Her first clothing after the Holocaust – was made from recycled parachutes. And my first red carpet dress for The Walking Dead – will be a recycled parachute. If she HADN'T survived, if the Visa that brought them to the USA HADN'T come through first – my life would be very different. I never would have met my husband, and never would have had the amazing kids I have today.
Such a beautiful coincidence. Or as I would call it, “A God Thing.”
What a special moment for Ann to experience and her mother-in-law to re-experience through her. A "God thing" indeed. You can follow Ann on Twitter @ANNIEMOHO for breaking dress news, career updates, and inspiring tweets; catch her in the new movie 99 Homes, and of course as Olivia, reigning Queen of Guns and Chocolate on The Walking Dead, season 6, kicking off on Sunday, October 11th, 9 pm ET.
You can read more about designer Andrew Dyrdahl's vision by following this link.