24 May 2007

attempting to design a classic

just to give you an idea about creating a design from scratch, i have been working on this dress since january. it is a very simple dress, but the most simple designs are sometimes the hardest. they are like the slow movement of a piece of music; there is nothing to hide behind. no flashy distractions like ruffles or volumes of gathered fabric, just a basic contour darts and seams.

this dress is inspired by the 1960's sheath dress, but instead of an a-line from the shoulder, it nips in at the waist for definition. i was never a fan of the sack dress, as it is unflattering on most figures. i was going for a nice classic design that can be very versatile. look for this dress in cotton for summer to be worn by itself as a mini-dress or as a long shirt over pants; slightly longer and made out of silk for a simple bride's maids' dress (or summer formal or garden party dress); and in the fall out of wool as a jumper with a shirt underneath and tights or knee-socks. the possibilities are endless...

21 May 2007

the swan has flown away...

she said: "everyone will be in formal wear, and i will be the only one wearing a costume."

my kind of lady.

15 May 2007

black swan act II

he last two days have been spent coating a cheap tank top in "feathers" made out of tulle, organza with sparkly bits, and silk scraps. deconstructionist fashion at its best. triangle scraps of fabric with their ends free make the body of the swan, with the rest sewn down for texture. tomorrow we fit on the body. i can just have my client put it on, and i will pin and tuck until it is the shape we want. then we will decide what to add to the crinoline. we decided that the swan would be sleeping.

regular couture conventions are thrown out the window with costumes. costumes are a freeing experience; i don't have to draft a pattern, or worry about grading for size or making another one ever again, for that matter. the seams don't need to be perfect, and the piece doesn't have to last forever. it is a beautiful illusion meant to be seen from a distance. it is a moment, an alias.

11 May 2007

black swan

every now and again i will take on a crazy custom project that is so whacky, i just can't turn it down. this month it is a version of the swan dress bjork wore to the oscars that the whole world had to make fun of, but in black. it is for a client of mine to wear to an oscar theme party. at my suggestion, she brought me a fluffy crinoline (one of those big square dance skirts), a top to deconstruct and cover with fancy bits, and a selection of tulle, netting and sparklies.

true to form, i spent the last few days thinking about how to make the swan head. i spent most of yesterday looking at pictures of, and drawing swans. i am not too patient with myself when i am being too mental, but i have to work these things out before i can start cutting. cutting is always the scariest part; not what to do in the first place, or whether the client will like the end product, but the cutting. i hate wasting fabric due to stupid mistakes.

today i had to make a practice head first. the transformation of a three dimensional object to a two dimensional object, and back into a three dimensional object is the grand challenge of fashion design. swan heads are outside of my normal realm of design; similar, but not the same as the curves of the human form. that, and i really like to get it in the first couple of tries, which i usually do. this is a direct result of over-thinking about the logistics.

now i am thinking about the eyes. ben tried some creepy giant taxedermy eyes on the swan head, but that made it look too flamingoey (and too weird scary). i think maybe rhinestone buttons, but i will be consulting with the client on this when i see her next. tomorrow's project is to deconstruct and construct the bodice. that should be easy, comapred to the swan head. i am still thinking about it right now. if i am lucky, she will let me photograph her in it when i am done!

(i was going to put a picture of the swan head here, but my camera's batteries are dead)

03 May 2007

what am i waiting for?

muddling through the same old crap. i have to work things out in my head first, but then, what of the things that can't entirely be worked out in my mind without doing? this weeks exampled is this simple wrap skirt. it is a summer staple; nice and breezy. the challenge here was the waist band. it wraps around and needs to go through itself so the band lies flat and doesn't cross over in a bulky way. i had to think it out for two days before i tried out the design i had in mind, and guess what? it worked on the first try. so why think about it for two days?