05 Apr 2011
Fabrics and Textiles: The Connotations of Fur

Céline, AW11, Paris. Of all the fabrics that are used for fashion collections, animal fur is surely the most politicised of them all. Despite this fact, fur was used in the recent Autumn Winter collections in a number of ways.

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04 Apr 2011
Leatherwork at Junya Watanabe

Junya Watanabe, AW11, Paris. In the recent Junya Watanabe collection there was some great details in the leatherwork which are worthy of closer inspection. There is some incredible dart work in the leather that creates corset-like structures around the models waists, possibly reinforced with boning.

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01 Apr 2011
Shaping Seam Allowance for Corners and Curves

Hermès, AW11, Paris. Constructing a garment is a complex process which goes back and forth between cutting the fabric and stitching the fabric, more cutting, more stitching, more pressing until eventually you get the fabric to sit the way you want, engineered into the desired shape.

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31 Mar 2011
Menswear Details at Raf Simons

Raf Simons, Menswear, AW11, Paris. A wonderful teacher once told me that menswear was a careful balancing act between different elements such as colour, silhouette, prints and materials. Unlike womenswear where there are designers who can push the dial up to 11 on all the of these elements at once,...

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30 Mar 2011
Gender Buttons

Victorian Dress: Men in Morning Dress from 1840 and Two Women in Visiting Dresses from 1852.  There are some rules in the construction of fashion which are simply accepted and never questioned. Some are long lost traditions that have ingrained themselves in the way that clothes are made, for reasons...

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29 Mar 2011
Interpretations of Influence: Cristobal Balenciaga

Cristóbal Balenciaga, Silk Gazar Evening Dress, ca. 1959. We are all aware of the effect that a major art exhibition or fashion retrospective can have on the work of contemporary designers, as they absorb great ideas of the past and morph it into their own work. The subsequent effect of this...

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28 Mar 2011
Fabrics and Textiles: Houndstooth Check

There have been some interesting examples of late where designers have reinvented traditional prints and textile weaves. At times they have achieved a new look by playing with size and scale, or through new colour combinations or by using the pattern on unexpected materials. One of those patterns which has...

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25 Mar 2011
Drape: Working on the Stand at Lanvin

Lanvin, AW11, Paris. There are two main approaches that can be taken when converting a design into a 3D object for the first time. The approach that is chosen is very much decided by the design that needs to be achieved, and the particular working styles of the designer and/or...

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24 Mar 2011
Mary Katrantzou’s Detailed Prints

Mary Katrantzou, AW11, London. It’s always good to revisit collections when you’ve got more time to appreciate the work that has gone into the details and the fabrics, and some collections stand out because they have the depth to withstand deeper scrutiny. The bright colours and lampshade silhouettes used for the...

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23 Mar 2011
Toiles and Sample Garments

Christian Dior Toile, Made in Paris, 1954. Image from the V&A Collections». If you’ve ever read an interview with a designer where they mention the word “toile”, then they are effectively talking about the prototype versions of their collections. Toiles are the test version of a garment before a designer...

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22 Mar 2011
Fabrics and Textiles: Herringbone

Herringbone is the term used to describe a very traditional weave pattern involving the repetition of V shapes to form a series of zig-zagged lines. It is called herringbone as it echos the shapes found in the skeleton of the herring. The pattern is also sometimes found in other areas of...

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21 Mar 2011
The Tribes of Westwood, Owens and Demeulemeester

Images from Irving Penn and the AW11 collections of Ann Demeulemeester, Rick Owens and Vivienne Westwood. One of the fundamental effects that clothing has is to identify and categorise people in the minds of everyone else around them. We can be very judgemental and often decide whether someone is “one...

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