“Listen, we know the movie [Bandidas] was not exactly an Academy Award winner,” Cheryl laughed. “But I just loved the costumes! There’s an outfit Maria wears where she has her corset on over her blouse and I just loved the look, and I thought, ‘This is it. This is where we start, and let’s take it from there.’ So, we had to take the IDEA of that look and make it ‘us’, make it Double D, make it something we would actually wear.”
LIL CHIQUITA BIRD VEST: THE UN-CORSET
And, as you might imagine, a corset in its traditional form is, well, NOT ‘us’. (You know, because we like to be able to do things like breathe, and bend at the waist.) We decided on… wait for it… the next “vest” thing.
First step: research.
“I looked at a ton of corsets, a lot of things from museums,” Cheryl said. “Corsetry is really a beautiful art form, when you study it; the boning and the shape and the structure. I studied a bunch of different styles and versions, and took a little something from each and kind of melded them together.”
The next step is design. You can look at her inspiration photos and kind of see what struck her from each corset. The hem comes from pipe-trimmed flaps of one, and embroidery elements were drawn from a couple others, including the Lil Chiquita Bird.
Final step: naming it.
“Oh man, that’s a bit of a long story, but I’ll try to be as concise,” Cheryl laughed. “We have a really good family friend that we’ve really kind of adopted as our own -- he’s been a part of our lives for as long as we can remember. Well, one day he was on my heart, I had this feeling that maybe I should witness to him. So I went to visit him, and we’re chatting, and the conversation turns to God and our faith, and he perks up and tells me a story of a time when he was hospitalized, and he basically coded, and during that time he was visited by what he referred to as a ‘lil chiquita bird’ that to him, represented God or an angel. And then he was resuscitated, and the ‘lil chiquita bird’ was gone. That was his personal miracle and the moment that ignited his faith in God. So, that story stuck with us, and now we use the term ‘lil chiquita bird’ to refer to anything that feels like a sign from God or our Guardian Angel. Sketching that little bird when designing the vest made me think of that story, so we just had to name it that.”