The Cutting Class

Translucent Layers at Simone Rocha, Spring-Summer 2020. Blue printed design on sheer white background.
Translucent Layers at Simone RochaMOST RECENT

The Spring-Summer 2020 collection from Simone Rocha featured asymmetrical layers of sheer fabrics that had been gathered into transparent flounces and ruffles. The embellished fabric used, often blue on a white background, appeared like fine translucent porcelain, creating a delicate effect.

Burberry Trench Coat Details | The Cutting Class. Chain detail embellishment with Nova check undercollar.
Burberry Trench Coat DetailsLAST WEEK IN DESIGN DETAILS

When designers take over a role as creative director of an established fashion house they are often faced with the decision of how much of the archive to take on board, and when to make a clean start on their own. For some designers though, the house is all about the archetype of a particular garment which is a bread and butter part of the fashion labels income. Such is the case when you consider the position of someone like Riccardo Tisci going into Burberry, a brand synonymous with trench coats.

Ruched Dress by Japanese label Houga. Houga, AW19.
Ruching, Pleating, Gathers and Ruffles at HougaFEATURED FROM PATTERN MAKING

Moe Ishida, the designer behind Tokyo-based brand Houga, has a knack for creating laid-back party dresses that are oversized, asymmetrical and spliced through with ruffles, gathers and pleats. The fact that they are simply-styled and often cut in a single colour or pattern, means that a closer look is needed to see the clever pattern cutting at work.

Multicoloured Details from Ports 1961 | The Cutting Class. Ports 1961, RST16, New York.
Multicoloured Details from Ports 1961FEATURED FROM FABRICS & TEXTILES

The Spring-Summer 2016 pre-collection from Ports 1961 was filled with pops of vivid colour set against a neutral canvas of whites and creams. Different trims and embellishments were used across the garments to foreground parts of the garments and to give the garments texture.

Epaulettes at Miu Miu

The term “epaulettes” seems to traditionally refer to the decorations which would be fastened to the shoulder straps on military uniforms. Over time the term has come to refer to the shoulder straps themselves, which are often found as a detail on coats and trenches.

Ladies Who Fetish at Christopher Kane | The Cutting Class. Rubberist print dress from Christopher Kane AW19 collection.
Ladies Who Fetish at Christopher KaneFEATURED FROM DESIGN DETAILS

Christopher Kane is a designer who knows how to flesh out a collection in the old school way – taking an idea or theme as a jumping-off point and iterating the idea out to the end of each tangent until new and surprising results emerge. From a design appreciation perspective, this approach often results in stronger collections where individual garments can stand alone on their own merits, while the whole collection also connects together.

The Christian Dior Toile Room | The Cutting Class. Images of toiles from the 2019 V&A exhibition paired with their catwalk versions.

One of the most amazing rooms in the V&A Exhibition Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams was the toile room, a vast room filled with the ghostly prototypes of couture seasons. Being a minimalist at heart, there is something incredibly satisfying seeing the pure cut and structure behind iconic dresses and tailoring pieces from previous seasons. Although The Cutting Class looked at the rest of the exhibition in a previous article», the Christian Dior toile room deserved closer examination all by itself and a chance to pair some of those toiles with their eventual catwalk iterations.

Christopher Kane Gel Inserts Over Pocket Bags
Pocket Bags at Christopher KaneFEATURED FROM DESIGN DETAILS

Pocket bags are simply the pieces of fabric that form the inside section of pockets. They are normally hidden, discreet, utilitarian and completely forgettable. Unless of course, you are Christopher Kane and an opaque pocket bag could get in the way of your liquid vision. Because of the fact that Kane used pouches of technicolour liquid in his AW11 collection a light coloured, or skin-coloured background became a must.

Zip Details from Prada AW1999 | The Cutting Class.

Sometimes you see an image pop up and even though it’s from a collection that’s 20 years old, you feel like the garment could just as easily have been created for a new collection. Such was the case when an image of zip details from Prada AW1999 appeared.

The Fullness and Shaping of Sleeves: Part 1 | The Cutting Class. Céline, SS14.
The Fullness and Shaping of Sleeves: Part 1FEATURED FROM PATTERN MAKING

This was the first article in a three part series looking at the shaping of sleeves. This first article focused on the looser sleeve shapes that are developed from simple rectangles and squares to create kaftan and ‘kimono’ style sleeves when pattern making.

Fullness and Shaping of Sleeves Part 2
The Fullness and Shaping of Sleeves: Part 2FEATURED FROM PATTERN MAKING

The second article in a 3 part series on sleeves, this article focuses on the angle of the sleeve in relation to the shoulder, and explains how the angle of the sleeve affects the movement of the wearer and the subsequent volume of fabric in the underarm area.

The Fullness and Shaping of Sleeves: Part 3
The Fullness and Shaping of Sleeves: Part 3FEATURED FROM PATTERN MAKING

This post forms the third part of a series about The Fullness and Shaping of Sleeves (read Part 1 or Part 2). In the first two posts we talked about how you need to make certain decisions about the fullness and angle of your sleeve. In this post we will talk about how you can then use seams, darts, gathers and tucks to shape the sleeve and body pieces of your garment. We are going to return to the idea of shaping the body and sleeves of a garment out of a single piece of fabric. We will then work into this piece of fabric to create the shaping that we want for our sleeve.

Bleached Jeans at Eckhaus Latta | The Cutting Class. Styles 'Baggy Jean Chemtrail' and 'Wide Leg Jean Tri Stacked' from the AW19 collection.
Bleached Jeans at Eckhaus LattaFEATURED FROM FABRICS & TEXTILES

There are some collections that are nicely layered with different colours and textures, but the layering on the catwalk can sometimes hide exactly what’s going on with all the fabrics and details. This is the case with some of the bleached jeans at Eckhaus Latta.

Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams Exhibition at V&A. © The Cutting Class, 2019.
V&A Christian Dior: Designer of DreamsFEATURED FROM DESIGN DETAILS

The V&A’s blockbuster exhibition has now ended with record breaking attendance. This expansive exhibition paid homage to the legacy of Christian Dior, his innovative sense of silhouette, deep respect for the craft of haute couture, and the thematic threads that ran through his work and the designs of his successors…

Sies Marjan Jacket Details | The Cutting Class. Detail of Haru Twill Waisted Jacket from AW19.

There were some interesting details on a style called the ‘Haru Twill Waisted Jacket’ from the Autumn-Winter 2019 collection from Sies Marjan. The jacket has a softly shaped feel, due to the gently nipped waist and the slight arc to the sleeves. The twill fabric used is also encouraging the design to fall into softly rounded folds, rather than crisp creases.

i-am-chen Engineered Knitwear | The Cutting Class. Asymmetrical knitwear from designer Zhi Chen.
i-am-chen Engineered KnitwearFEATURED FROM FABRICS & TEXTILES

Zhi Chen describes herself on the i-am-chen website as a technician rather than a fashion designer, explaining how she studies the workings of machines on the factory floor to exploit their full capabilities in her engineered knitwear. The results are vibrant asymmetrical pieces that play with volume and colour, that often involve computer programming to control the machines and create the designs.

Tailored Jacket Hems - Straight or Curved? | The Cutting Class. Proenza Schouler, SS20. Double breasted jacket in grey.
Tailored Jacket Hems – Straight or Curved?FEATURED FROM DESIGN DETAILS

It’s one of those details that you just might not really think about until you notice it, but a crisply squared-off hem on a tailored jacket is a clean detail when applied to either menswear or womenswear. Tailored jacket hems are one of the many details that can be adjusted on single-breasted or double-breasted styles to influence the overall feel of the look and can be made into sharp corners, or soft curves, or any variation in between.

Draping and Moulage | The Cutting Class. Progress image of draping on a Hervé L. Leroux garment for couture SS13.

While many designers design garments that can be created using flat pattern making techniques, other garments are created by working directly on a mannequin using techniques often referred to as “draping” or “moulage”. There are a couple of things to keep in mind when working in this way…