The Divorce Dress - Candid Stories of Relationship Endings from Around the Globe
The Divorce Dress began as a photography, poetry and storytelling project in October of 2016 by Kay Hansen and Georgia Cantando. A collection of candid stories about relationship endings from around the globe. Two women, one dress, and an ambitious mission loosen stigmas that surround divorce, gender roles and belief systems through laughter, poetry, photography, and Divorce Dress exorcism...one human being at a time!
One girl’s night out filled with whiskey and laughter, Kay decide to show her dear friend Georgia the artifact that hung in her closet. Georgia remembers that moment well, “It was the catalyst for our project. When Kay showed me the dress, I didn’t know quite what to say or how to respond. I took a long pause to digest what I just saw, the soberness quickly evaporated and we erupted in spontaneous laughter: Hard, gut-wrenching laughter. We laughed at the horror of it, the complications of it, and all the feelings it evoked. We told stories of relationships, love and definitely divorce! After some time, Kay asked me do you want to put it on? It was the best horrible idea, I had to say, yes.”
From that moment on Kay and Georgia started to put all types of people in the dress, no matter the sexual orientation, religion, age, or race. Everybody was welcomed in The Divorce Dress. They initially began by photographing people in the dress and writing haikus about divorce, which quickly evolved into documenting each individual's story and interviewing them. Kay shares, “Everybody's story is unique and at the same time incredibly similar. It takes real bravery to share your vulnerable side and it is an honor that we get to be a conduit for their story. Often our participants have never told anybody what they are sharing with us, it’s a real cathartic experience. It is such a great compliment that people feel safe enough to open up and share themselves in a raw real way with us.”
Georgia and Kay acknowledge that divorce is a complicated, painful, and charged subject. When asked if they ever get a negative reaction, Kay explains, “There are times people get very angry with us and accuse us of promoting divorce. We are not promoting divorce. We are being real. Divorce happens and effects everybody in some way or another. We encourage people to say what is on their minds and not muffle that voice with the shallow, appropriate thing to say. We all have our own path to healing, sometimes that means letting your anger out by screaming at the top of your lungs profanities and insults, other times it means laughing at the ridiculousness of it all. The Divorce Dress’s mission is to destigmatize divorce and the taboos surrounding divorce through radical honesty.”
When asked if the original owner of the dress knows about the project, Kay and Georgia smile. “We both knew how important it was to tell her,” Kay said. “It took a while to muster up the bravery to have the conversation with her. I didn’t want her finding out about the project without me telling her first. When I spoke with her about the project she was very gracious and gave me her blessing,” Kay said, “I have the utmost respect for her.”
With the success of the Divorce Dress project spreading, strangers started to reach out to them to get in the dress. The project has spiraled from there and turned into a global project. Georgia and Kay recently agreed to become featured writers for Celebrity attorney Laura Wasser’s website Its over easy, and continue to influence the relationship space with their unique take on divorce. In 2019 they will be releasing their photography book filled with the collection of divorce stories and haikus.
Kay and Georgia will continue travelling the globe in 2018 collecting stories for The Divorce Dress book. Requests to be in the dress can be submitted at www.thedivorcedress.com.