2nd Place

The Little Mermaid



Kitty Mortensen


(click images to to enlarge)

Other Credits

Photographer/ Videographer Michael la-Cour

Outline the story …

"The moon shined bright and she drank the burning drink. It felt like a double edged sword cutting through her lovely body. She passed out and laid as if dead. Then the sun shined on her and she awoke (…) she looked down and discovered her tail was gone and she now had the most darling, white little legs any little girl could ever have. (…) every step she took was like stepping on pointy syringes and sharp knives”

I’ve chosen the tale of the little mermaid, since it is a native tale for me- most likely H.C. Andersens most known work.
What I was mainly inspired by is her arising from the ocean, and her first steps with her newfound legs.
I really wanted the skirt to look like her tail and still make it in a way that allowed for the legs to show- as if in mid transition.
I knew I wanted to make the stockings with bloody feet, but you know- fashionable. So rhinestones and beads were used to make it look like bloody feet, just as I imagine in the fairytale.
Though it is a gory tale with her tounge cut out and her dying in the end- it still ends good and hopeful. She made the 'right' choice by not killing him, thus qualifying for an eternal soul herself (something not possible for mermaids to have).

Outline the construction…

I had some issues making the plunge without reinforcement at the narrow point between the cups. For this I went back to the patterning live call where Barbara explained possible solutions to this exact issue.
For the corset I had a very special attention to perfecting it inside and out, to the best of my ability, this means I made my own bias tape and I made external boning channels in matching silk as well. I also used a top-thread matching the exterior and a bobbin matching my interior- resulting in a much neater finish.

Next was a walkable corset dress, and a way to make it a tail.
It took some working out, and I decided to make the tail as a separate skirt to allow the dress to be used on its own too. On the hem of the skirt I ended up hand beading with several thousand (5000+ clear glass beads) to weigh it down and give a more continuous look with the water-droplets on the corset itself.
I also made some accessories such as the hosiery that I painted with a diluted fabric paint to look bloody and then rhinestone and beaded to give depth. And the hair comb, I painted to have a watercolour look and finished with gold leaf around the edges.
The corset itself has been encrusted with 800 matching crystal beads and many clear glass beads to look like water beads, as if it had just arisen from the ocean.




  1. Lucy Emke Lucy Emke on March 11, 2021 at 6:04 pm

    I am totally blown away by this, it’s incredible.

    • Kitty Mortensen Kitty Mortensen on March 11, 2021 at 9:07 pm

      Thank you so much, it means so much to me- coming from you Lucy <3 You're such a huge part of why and how I started sewing corsets myself.

  2. Avatar Bernadette Alster on March 11, 2021 at 7:03 pm

    Oh my god, Kitty. The whole thing is amazing, but that split tail is absolutely brilliant.

    • Kitty Mortensen Kitty Mortensen on March 11, 2021 at 9:09 pm

      Thank you so much Bernadette- it took quite a lot of thinking to get it to work – I didn’t want it to be the classic ‘mermaid skirt’ I wanted it to be literal and wearable- I almost gave up on it. but draping a bit on my dress form helped me so much put it to life, instead of on paper. 😀

      • Avatar Hannah on March 12, 2021 at 9:17 am

        Stunning. The fit is impeccable and the colours are so vibrant it takes my breath away. Great work

  3. Avatar Carol Hughey on March 11, 2021 at 9:48 pm

    Kitty, this is wonderful. You defined the character and captured her fabulously. I love the water dripping off her. The corset dress shape perfectly reflects her character, and is meticulously executed. Well done!! I love it!

    • Kitty Mortensen Kitty Mortensen on March 12, 2021 at 8:26 am

      Thank you SO much- I’m still a bit in disbelief that I managed to get it done- Those plunges has been running corners with my mind for the longest time <3

  4. Avatar The blue closet Costumes on March 11, 2021 at 10:19 pm

    Breathtaking <3

    • Kitty Mortensen Kitty Mortensen on March 12, 2021 at 8:26 am

      Thank you so much

  5. Avatar Phanuel Jagna Levinsen on March 11, 2021 at 10:44 pm

    This is stunning! I love that it’s open in the front but droops into a point on the back to form the tail!! It’s so beautiful!

    • Kitty Mortensen Kitty Mortensen on March 12, 2021 at 8:28 am

      Thank you SO much lovely! I had such a hard time making an unsupported plunge- And I’m So proud of the tail, Cound’t find any inspiration for how to solve it that wasn’t the classic ‘mermaid skirt’ with tulle. So those two details are absolutely the things that makes me the most prod, So I’m so exited that those were the things you noticed <3

      • Avatar Phanuel Jagna Levinsen on March 12, 2021 at 11:02 am

        Of course! I’ve never seen it done before but it’s perfect for the character since you both get Legs™ aaaand Tail™. It’s extraordinary work and a brilliant idea to begin with! So cool you managed to get through with it despite the technical difficulties <3

        • Kitty Mortensen Kitty Mortensen on March 12, 2021 at 6:00 pm

          Thank you so much <3 I'm so. happy you like it <3

  6. Avatar Heather McGreal on March 11, 2021 at 11:07 pm

    Those stockings are so subtle but such an amazing touch to interpret the sacrifice of the little mermaid. Beautiful costume and amazing attention to the small detail.

    • Kitty Mortensen Kitty Mortensen on March 12, 2021 at 8:30 am

      Thank you so much, I’m very prod of them- I spent far more time on them than what I’d like to admit <3 I'm so happy you noticed and liked them 🙂

  7. Avatar Rebecca on March 12, 2021 at 5:02 am

    it’s beautiful. those feet! i feel the pain. what a gorgeous short film, too. good luck from icarus!

    • Kitty Mortensen Kitty Mortensen on March 12, 2021 at 8:32 am

      Thank you so much <3 And thank you so much, It's so hard to capture everything in only one minute and 5 images, but I'm just so prod I even reached the deadline. And best of luck to you too <3

      • Avatar Cecilie Bull Alexandrovitsch on March 12, 2021 at 3:52 pm

        I can’t believe you sewn so many beads on 😱 must have taken FOREVER! And I love the beads dripping like water for the top ❤️ and let’s not forget the silhouette – it is beautiful

        • Kitty Mortensen Kitty Mortensen on March 12, 2021 at 6:03 pm

          It took forever! and I started just a few weeks before the deadline- I start to wonder if it’s my masochistic tendencies showing XD
          And thank you SO much, I’m so happy I entered <3

  8. Avatar Stef McKnight on March 12, 2021 at 7:40 am

    Stunning! The silhouette and neckline is just captivating

    • Kitty Mortensen Kitty Mortensen on March 12, 2021 at 8:34 am

      Thank you so much! IT took me SO long to get that neckline to work for me- I usually have to support the cups with some ribbon or elastic at the narrowest point between the cups- So it was such a win for me, being able to finally pattern it so it could support itself .

  9. Avatar Laura Wemyss on March 12, 2021 at 3:47 pm

    The visual evolution from tail to legs, is such a brilliant interpretation of the story. Combined with the intricacy of the plunge-front and the delicacy of the water droplet beading, it is all so very inspiring!

    • Kitty Mortensen Kitty Mortensen on March 12, 2021 at 6:05 pm

      Thank you so, so much <3 I learned a lot during this process- I was quite scared that I chose her, since I felt it was really hard for me to make her impressive – but seeing how it all came together, now it feels so right to have chosen her. <3

  10. Avatar Nadine on March 12, 2021 at 7:35 pm

    I can see the love for detail. I am totally taken by the idea to make the feet look bloody. It’s s simply beautiful and moving. It’s how I remember the story, too

    • Kitty Mortensen Kitty Mortensen on March 15, 2021 at 10:18 pm

      Thank you so much- I had such a hard time doing the story justice, But in the end, I’m so proud of what I accomplished, considering I started out so late <3

  11. Avatar Maria Jones on March 12, 2021 at 9:41 pm

    You’ve really captured the moment of transformation here! I’m working on a corset dress at the moment so I totally understand getting the balance between fit and the ability to walk. The detail of all the crystals and beads is amazing!

    • Kitty Mortensen Kitty Mortensen on March 15, 2021 at 10:20 pm

      Thank you so much- I made a corset dress for this competition a few years back- not walkable what so ever XD so both that and the unsupported plunge was contractually huge challenges for me. I feel like I levelled up a bit learning all of this stuff ^_^

  12. Avatar Damaris Luhn on March 13, 2021 at 4:53 pm

    Uhhhh Kitty it is amazing!!! <3 <3 <3 You truly look like the little mermaid. I love the beading, the dangling droplets, the tail the long line of the corset dress…! So stunning! And that you even made her bloody feet… Love it, and you look gorgeous as always, you really breathe life into your designs <3

    • Kitty Mortensen Kitty Mortensen on March 15, 2021 at 10:22 pm

      That means the absolute world to me, coming from you <3 I must say I'm very intimidated to have been moved up a category- but I'm also SO happy that they felt like I was good enough! I feel so accomplished, and thinking back that I had almost given up on entering this year- I'm so happy I did not cheat myself out of taking part in this <3

  13. Avatar Mona on March 16, 2021 at 2:20 pm

    Give me a minute to pick up my jaw!
    Kitty – this is amazing!

    • Kitty Mortensen Kitty Mortensen on March 23, 2021 at 2:05 pm

      Thank you SO much <3

  14. Avatar Lili on March 16, 2021 at 5:14 pm

    This is so amazing! I am so happy to see your entry! I love your work. So intense!

    • Kitty Mortensen Kitty Mortensen on March 23, 2021 at 2:06 pm

      That means the world to me- I was so close to not enter this year, and when I finally decided to go for it, there was only a couple of weeks until the deadline XD I don’t know why I do this to myself haha..

  15. Avatar Marion Brégier on March 16, 2021 at 9:12 pm

    I am seriously wowed, your work is amaaaaazing !

    • Kitty Mortensen Kitty Mortensen on March 23, 2021 at 2:08 pm

      Thank you so much- all these amazing comments mean the absolute world to me! I was so unsure if anyone would like my take on it, and with so many new things for me, I can’t help but just see the flaws in my outfit. So these comments are once again proving why I love this competition so much <3

  16. Avatar Laëtitia on March 18, 2021 at 9:05 pm

    A real little mermaid as we should see more often. The details of the feet froze my blood, and the mermaid tail train is the detail that I like the most! Well done!

    • Kitty Mortensen Kitty Mortensen on March 23, 2021 at 2:11 pm

      Thank you so much- The tail took me so long to figure out. I could not for the life of me find any inspiration that wasn’t the classic mermaid tail skirt, and I so wanted it to be more literal than that (plus I wanted to show off my bloody stockings) haha..
      Im so happy you liked it <3

  17. Avatar Carly Van Groeningen on March 19, 2021 at 11:21 am

    Gorgeous work, I love this so much. Every detail is so beautifully done, but the stockings are particularly inspired!

    • Kitty Mortensen Kitty Mortensen on March 23, 2021 at 2:13 pm

      Thank you so much- fun fact, the stockings and the plunge are the only two things in my design that hasn’t changed much from my original design. I’m so happy that people got who it was without knowing and I’m just so thankful for all the comments of affirmation that remind me why I love this competition so much <3

  18. Avatar Pentti Lahti on March 20, 2021 at 10:41 pm

    Extremely beautiful!! Everything goes together so well and the beading is stunning!!

    • Kitty Mortensen Kitty Mortensen on March 23, 2021 at 2:15 pm

      Thank you so much- the beading nearly killed my fingers, but it was so worth it! I love crystal and glass beads so much, and the sparckle so much in the sun <3 Makes my little heart so happy

  19. Avatar Suzanne Egan on March 23, 2021 at 4:20 am

    Exquisite! The skirt as her tail fins was a brilliant idea and well executed! This is stunning work!

    • Kitty Mortensen Kitty Mortensen on March 23, 2021 at 2:17 pm

      Thank you SO much <3 it was my first time ever draping a skirt design, and it was so anxiety provoking- the fins eded up eating about 6 meters of fabric :O I was stunned, but soo fun and I'm so happy I tried a new way of creating garments for me 😀

  20. Avatar Maeri Certo on March 26, 2021 at 6:34 pm

    You are an incredible artist, Kitty! Growing up, this version was one of my favorite stories and I love how you interpreted the feet. Amazing work!

  21. Avatar Kikkii von Fustian on March 27, 2021 at 11:13 pm

    It’s so so beautiful! <3 I love how you did the fish tail, and the bloodied feet, and all the beading! You're so skilled <3

  22. Avatar Annie Bartholomew on March 28, 2021 at 4:17 am

    What a masterpiece! The beadwork on this dress alone is outstanding. So obsessed with the corset/bodice, and lacing that goes so far down the back. The color and texture of that silk dupioni is so ethereal. So many amazing choices here.

    Your ensemble may be too classy for this, but if you ever get the chance to attend the Coney Island Mermaid Parade – it is ridiculously fun and your design would be so appreciated. Although, I feel like this dress belongs in a museum!

  23. Avatar Kat Cuseo on March 30, 2021 at 3:46 am

    Beautiful! I love all the details, especially the tail and the bloody feet. So creative!

  24. Avatar Annick on March 30, 2021 at 7:38 am

    The perfect mix of the Little Mermaid’s beauty and pain. Reading the fairy tale as a child, her bloody footprints were was stuck with me the most, and I love how you incorporated them in your entry. You have captured the story beautifully. The work that went into this is just beyond. The fit, the fabric, and soooooo many beads! Truly outstanding.

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