Today (13 October) saw the unveiling of a stunning, handcrafted dress made from 3,000 paper poppies. In celebration of the 2015 Poppy Appeal, which launches next week, the dress was revealed at Malmaison Birmingham, where it remains in situ until 11 November.

The poppy dress was created by Sarah Bryan, who hit headlines back in 2014 after making a dress made entirely of skittles. She has put her creativity to the test, once again, in support of the British Legion to mark the centenary of the First World War.

“Making the Skittles Dress was a real challenge – it took 145 bags of Skittles, 90 tubes of glue, and 180 man hours to create. I couldn’t believe the reaction that I received and as soon as it was complete I knew that I needed another challenge,” said Sarah, who works as a Beautician.

“The second time around I wanted to play homage to my British background and it seemed so apt to mark the centenary of WW1. I was truly inspired after visiting Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red at the Tower of London last year and I was lucky enough to buy one of the ceramic poppies, which is now proudly in my home. I get inspiration from every day life and when I saw a neighbour’s washing hanging on the line, including a poppy print bed sheet, I knew exactly what the dress was going to be made from. I approached the British Legion and they were extremely helpful and supportive. I want the dress to make a real impact and get people talking about the importance of the Poppy Appeal. Most importantly, I want it to encourage people to donate.”

Sarah’s Poppy Dress was made with a custom cut top design and wires, and material for the bottom half. It measures in at 150cms from top to bottom and 147cms from front to back. Her previous candy creation was a world first and it entered the Guinness World Records, as well as receiving national and international media interest. It was purchased by Ripley’s ‘Believe It Or Not’ attraction as a feature for visitors.

This year marks the centenary of the First World War and The Royal British Legion is, once again, embarking on a calendar of celebrations during the official Poppy Appeal, to mark “the memory of the fallen and the future of the living.”

Birmingham’s premiere boutique hotel, Malmaison, will display the Poppy Dress until 11 November. In addition, the hotel will also be selling poppies, donating 10% of diners’ bills to the appeal and hosting a special Veteran’s Lunch on Sunday 8 November.

This comes as the latest development at the hotel, following its launch of the ‘Art Space’, with the central foyer being used to showcase artistic talent. Having launched this back in the summer with a Duran Duran exhibition by famed music photographer Denis O’Regan, the space has gone on to host work by fine art travel photographer Clive Sawyer and currently an exhibition by Maria Mouskos remains in situ, celebrating musical icons like Jimi Hendrix, Amy Winehouse and Jay-Z.

Following a significant investment programme that has seen upgrades to all areas of the business, Malmaison Birmingham recently unveiled its centrepiece Chez Mal Brasserie and Bar. The first floor space has been transformed with a brighter, fresher more dramatic look. As The Mailbox redevelopment nears completion, the hotel has added to the 30 Club rooms, which were revamped earlier this year, by completing an overhaul of all 189 bedrooms. Three new rooms have also been built, taking the hotel’s total number of rooms to 192. The room refurbishments include a swanky new interiors, feature walls, comfy cushions, fur throws and luxurious new carpets. The Club rooms now also have coffee machines and uber-comfy Eames Chairs.

“I’m absolutely speechless that Malmaison has agreed to showcase the Poppy Dress; it really does mean the world to me. I created it to raise awareness and drive donations, and what better way than teaming up with a destination like Malmaison? I didn’t have the easiest start in life so receiving this kind of support really does mean a lot to me – and I know it equally means a lot to The Royal British Legion. I can’t thank the team at Malmaison enough,” Sarah added.

“As for my ambitions in the future, I want to gain more fashion experience and make epic designs for crazy celebrities to wear, and as centerpieces for high profile events,” she concluded.

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