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...

Continue Reading
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...

Continue Reading
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...

Continue Reading
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...

Continue Reading
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...

Continue Reading
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...

Continue Reading
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...

Continue Reading
18 Mar 2011
Handmade Fabrics at Alexander McQueen

Alexander McQueen, AW11, Paris. As good as full length catwalk images are, they only go part way into showing how clever the designers and their teams really are. The best thing about viewing catwalk photography online now, is that we have access to close-up images of the runway shows so...

Continue Reading
17 Mar 2011
High Rounded Necklines and Collar Variations

Jil Sander, AW11, Milan. There are so many details that come together to make up the collections each season that sometimes it is interesting to just hone in on one detail. By flicking through the collection images looking only at shoulder shapes, hem lines or closures, you start to notice...

Continue Reading
16 Mar 2011
Grading Rulers and French Curves

Grading ruler and set of french curves. No self respecting pattern maker likes to be without an accurate ruler. The best rulers for pattern making are made of strong clear plastic and have a grid across the whole ruler making it easy to accurately mark seam allowance. Clear grid rulers,...

Continue Reading
Sequins in various shapes and styles from Prada, Louis Vuitton, Comme des Garçons, Rodarte and Christopher Kane.
15 Mar 2011
Sequins Reimagined

Sequin swatches from the AW11 collections of Prada, Louis Vuitton, Comme des Garçons, Rodarte and Christopher Kane. Sometimes even the most beautiful things can end up ruined by overuse. Sequins can conjure up a vision of the most glamourous and labour intensive evening dresses and also evoke memories of bedazzling...

Continue Reading
14 Mar 2011
Dai Fujiwara for Issey Miyake: Process as Presentation

Issey Miyake, AW11, Paris. Often when designers present their work it seems that the aim is to make the process look as effortless as possible. So sometimes it’s nice when labels such as Comme des Garcons and Margiela leave little traces of the process behind in the work as a...

Continue Reading