MERGE 2023

Catlin Bolan

December 18, 2023

Pictured left to right: Team Captain – Tabitha Pontino and Model – Jaimee Elliot

Over the last few months, a group comprised and led by D+B women, worked together to create a one-of-a-kind piece for the Northern California Chapter of the International Interior Design Association (IIDA) Annual MERGE Fashion Show. This year’s theme was Emerging Designers. The goal was to emulate the assigned designer to the best of the team’s abilities while only using architectural/construction materials. Each of the thirteen teams was assigned one designer and nine material vendors at random. D+B was assigned the emerging designer Harris Reed. Known for creating looks for well-known celebrities including Harry Styles, Florence Pugh, Sam Smith, and Saoirse Ronan Reed is a young rising British-American designer who pulls inspiration from the Renaissance era’s romanticism and regality, frequently creating designs that showcase large hoop skirts and elegant oversized headpieces.

When creating the design framework, the team made the executive decision to place an emphasis on these two design themes, allowing for the creation of a gorgeous headpiece and skirt. Below are some initial sketches noting what materials would be utilized throughout the design.

Sketches completed by D+B team member, Taylor Allen.

D+B’s completed design featured a cage skirt atop a pair of bell-bottom styled pants, a black bustier, and a round planar headpiece emulating a crown. The black, white, and red color palette was chosen as an ode to the Dreyfuss + Blackford branding. The headpiece’s structural element was created and provided by Weidner. The piece was created by being laser cut from a poster core frame and plays peekaboo with Maharam’s sheer black fabric, accented by paint-dipped paint brush bristles. Red accents were added to add a pop of color throughout the design. Both the paint and brush bristles were provided by Dunn Edwards. The bustier cups are constructed from the power cords of power modules provided by Seats and Stations. The corset used Designtex’s vinyl fabric as a base for the boning of the bustier, featuring rubber tile from Mannington Commercial and tile from Arizona Tile to adhere to. The flared pants were constructed from contrasting textiles from Designtex. The cage skirt was constructed by Armstrong Ceilings using curved ceiling grid trim and assembled with cables in vinyl from Millerknoll. Tape light from ALR illuminates the headpiece and bottom tier of the cage skirt which shed slight on the importance of the wearer – the ground upon which they walk is worthy of the crown on their head.

D+B was honored to take home the award for Best Model Attitude, thanks to Jaimee Elliot’s regal walk and stage presence that left spectators finding it difficult to look away.

Kristin Hyatt and Jaimee Elliot working together to adjust the hoop skirt height to avoid dragging.

Materials Utilized

As outlined in the MERGE guidelines the team was assigned ten different materials manufactures and were required to use at least one SKU from each vendor to meet our minimum material requirement.

Arizona Tile 

Armstrong Ceilings

Associated Lighting Representatives (ALR)

Designtex (Steelcase)

Dunn Edwards Paints

Maharam (Millerknoll)

Mannington Commercial 


Seats and Stations


  • Provided Custom Acrylic Headpiece

D+B Team Members

The team consisted of women compiled from a wide variety of roles within the A/E/C  industry:
Tabitha Pontino – Team Captain, Interior Designer
Jaimee Elliott – Model, Project Designer
Kristin Hyatt, Former D+B Architect
Tessa Couvrette, Administrative Assistant
Hayley Daniels, Interior Designer
Kristina Smal, Project Designer
Katie Marcyan, Project Architect
Taylor Allen, Project Designer
Catlin Bolan, Marketing Coordinator

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