Emilio Pucci, PF16.
Historically, Pucci is a brand that is synonymous with print. By looking through the Pre-Fall 2016 collection by creative director Massimo Giorgetti, you can see some of the techniques and options available to designers to use prints successfully across a range of different garments. If you use patterns and prints in your own designs, some of the points below might help you to clarify problem areas, or help you to flesh out a key print in new ways and onto other garments.
Same Print, Different Fabric
Once you have a print or pattern that is key to the collection, you can then consider using the same design on different base cloths and with different techniques. Visually, this enables you to create a collection of garments that use a richer variety of textures. From a more practical perspective as a designer, this also gives you a wider range of fabrics to use in terms of drape and handle. For example, a print may be used on a silk twill for languid blouses, woven into a brocade for more structured outerwear, or printed onto a silk chiffon for floaty dresses.
When moving the same print onto different base cloths, however, you also need to think about how the print will be affected. For example, certain fabrics will retain brilliant colours while others may make the colours more matte and muted. Not that this is necessarily a bad thing, as the change in the print may be useful in your designs, it’s just something to consider.
Highlighting Single Motifs
If there are certain details that you want to draw attention to in an intense print, it can help to separate out this detail by itself. For example, the motif could be used as a placement print, or you can turn the motif into something more 3D such as an embroidery or embellishment. In the Pucci collection, a feather motif was singled out and used on a simple white top in one look, while texture on other garments appears to be created by hand sewing DTM (dye to match) feathers onto block coloured backgrounds.
Playing with Size and Scale
Another common technique is to vary the size of a print on different garments. For example, you may want to use large bold motifs in one garment, but you may need smaller scale prints for other pieces. When thinking about the scale of the motifs, you should consider the types of garments in your collection and how the patterns will be broken up by the cut of the garments. For example, some garments may have very few seams or darts, and this may allow large-scale motifs to be seen without becoming chopped off or disjointed.
There is also the option to vary the scale of the motif across a single garment. In the Pucci collection, you can see some of the motifs grow in scale. Usually, you would use a change of scale in a way that is flattering to the body, enlarging the print in some areas, while narrowing the print around areas you want to appear slimmer. However, this is also an idea you could subvert if you wished to play with proportion in a more unexpected way.
Matching or Breaking Up Patterns
You’ll also have to consider what your strategy is for dealing with obvious patterns over seam lines. Do you want patterns to be matched? Will it look wrong if patterns are slightly mismatched? Maybe the scale of the print is small enough that it doesn’t matter? Do you need to cut your pattern to take into account the size of the pattern repeat?
This consideration also applies to pleated garments and to how you want to calculate pleat width in relation to the size of a repeat pattern. If you match the width of the print repeat and the pleat width in the right way, the pattern will appear more uniform and will fall on the top surface of each pleat. If the values are mismatched, then the pattern will become offset across the folds of the garment.
In the Pucci collection, there are a few different techniques used to splinter and break up the print. On some of the pleated garments, the print repeat size and pleat values are mismatched so that the fabric pattern begins to become nicely fragmented. In other garments, the print is broken up by splitting the pattern into smaller fragments set against a plain coloured background. Another effect appears to have been achieved by screen printing some sections of the garments after they are sewn, instead of sewing the garments from preprinted textiles. This process makes the print appear to be cracking around the edges to reveal plain fabric under folds or seam lines.
Patterns Across Size Grades
Another practical concern for production is that you will have to consider how panels with an obvious pattern can be sized up and down across different garment sizes. In the Pucci collection, one option used to deal with this concern may be in the use of plain coloured borders. By having borders around the edges of some sections, this may give you space to expand or contract the garment pattern for different garment sizes without disturbing the textiles motifs. Visually, the use of bold borders and stripes also gives the viewers eye some breathing space. Similarly, in the Pucci collection, plain coloured borders on the edges of scarves allows space to sew a hand rolled hem and also helps to define the edge of the scarf when layered over other patterned garments.
Images from Emilio Pucci»