Céline, AW15, Paris.
Bet you never think of topstitching as nonchalant, right? What about pattern making, can you cut a dart like you just don’t care? This is the bizarre skill that is needed to be a fashion designer; can you convey a certain mood for a collection not just through your choice of fabric or the way you cut a jacket, but through every single choice and detail down to the last contrast buttonhole.
Surely, this is the secret to Céline’s success under Phoebe Philo? Somebody cares so much about how all those little details come together, what they insinuate and how they will hang on the body that the wearer doesn’t have to care. You can see it in the Céline collections because there are always little contradictions in the construction choices. A fabric embellishment can be left to unravel, but the topstitching on the sleeve head is perfectly placed to hold the seam allowance and smooth the silhouette. A cape hangs off your shoulders just right because someone has strategically worked out where to place the button and buttonhole and then sewn it in a contrast colour just so it doesn’t get too serious. You can even use pattern fullness to counteract anything that’s just too blatantly sexy. If you’re going to cut a revealing slip dress then why not crush the bust cups rather than dart them perfectly just so it’s not too fitted?
It sounds ridiculous, of course, that is until you’ve seen a garment go from wrong to right after a fitting session changed the proportions. Or after the cutter changed the fusing. Or the sewing machinist moved the topstitching on the hem. And when you look at a collection and something doesn’t look quite right or a garment just doesn’t look very resolved and you can’t work out why, it might be something really small that’s the key to the problem. Some little detail that just contradicts the concept behind the collection.
Images from Vogue.co.uk»