Julia Wollner created an award-winning line inspired by Bell's Palsy.

Each year The Pratt Institute presents one of its graduating design students with the ‘Liz Claiborne Concept to Design Award ‘after the senior fashion show. It is a $25,000 award funded by the Liz Claiborne Art Ortenberg Foundation, designed to cover expenses for the winner to create a collection for New York Fashion Week. Last Thursday the award was presented to Julia Wollner, for her innovative and inspiring collection.

Julia Wollner’s collection was inspired by her struggle with Bell’s Palsy. It is a nerve disorder that causes rapid paralysis of facial muscles and usually includes spontaneous recovery. It paralyzed Wollner’s face for two years before subsiding. During that time, Wollner was in physical therapy where she was given facial exercises to improve her muscle functions. She translated some of the facial images from those exercises onto her garments, and designed the pieces to be slightly uncomfortable- echoing the discomfort she felt during that time.

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