Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Spring 2014: A to Z and In-Between.

Curious about Spring 2014's runway designs, I got an eyeful at  Searching the A designers, then skipping to Y and Z and back-tracking toward the middle I found some very interesting, very creative work - made sketches, made notes.  Viewing the computer monitor, I ditch my glasses - making the sketches more bizarre than usual.  

My husband calls this method of paper conservation Beautiful Mind Work because I turn the paper this-way-and-that jotting notes in a stream-of-consciousness fashion.

I loved this Ace and Jig video, loved-xxoo Valentino's Byzantine and Opera Spring 2014 and Spring Couture 2014, and wanted to hang out in Orla Kiely's safari camp of readers and artists.

Here are my glasses-off sketches, with glasses-on painting... then a few photos:
Junya Watanabe and Alexis Mabille Spring 2014.

ZAC Zac Posen Spring 2014.
A.W.A.K.E. rooster blouse and Ann Demeulemeester veiled hat Spring 2014.
Orla Kiely pink hat, Yang Li black and white sleeveless dress, APC floral jumpsuit. Spring 2014.
The APC jumpsuit.
Aquilano Rimondi striped capelet and striped dress, Azzaro fringed dress, Y-3 feathers in hair. Spring 2014.
Ulyana Sergeenko top and long skirt over pants, Schiaparelli hat, Maison Martin Margiela dress and eye gauntlet cuffs. Spring 2014.
Yohji Yamamoto parliament wig coiffure, Comme des Garcons black sculptural dress. Spring 2014.
Electric Feathers Spring 2014.
Dries van Noten Fall 2014.
Yeohlee Spring 2014.
Chalayan Spring 2014.
Fendi Spring 2014.
The last two Fendi looks - 42 and 43 - are most interesting in movement... look at those paillettes sparkle iridescently like a dragonfly's wings! I noticed the effect on the models moving forward in the lineup.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Trend Folders, Mood Boards: Tools for the Visual Sponge.

For 30 years I've jotted notes, sketched/painted, and archived fashion tear-sheets and fabric swatches - observing trends and simply enjoying the flow of creativity.  Digital viewing in many ways seems insufficient for someone who appreciates feeling the weight and structure of a textile, or quickly flipping through printed pages.  However, one virtue of our digital culture (compared to what we were pre-internet) is a greater ability for a greater variety of people to be seen and heard.

Hence - another trend observation:  The tail of the 20th century and head of the 21st generated a back-to-the-bug's-eye-view interest in life of the general population... just think of all the reality shows, common-man-competition shows... and social media.  Via radio/television/internet and satellite, we today have bird's-eye ability to see and learn so many things... the bug's-eye-view trend seems ironic.

Rather than spotlighting iconic designers and runway fashion - as in earlier archived posts - here are some Treasury lists I created at Etsy.  These treasuries spotlight items created (or found) by the wonderfully creative crowd populating Etsy. 

If something in my treasuries catches your eye, you'll find it at Etsy, and that's where you'll find my book and zine too.

As an introduction to these treasuries, I must add - my choices here are not monetarily or socially-motivated... just things I like, which have a certain appeal.  If I were a fully-independent magazine which did not rely upon advertising... these would be my feature pages - or - if I were your mother, your artwork I magnet to my refrigerator:
Future 18th Aesthetic.
Fashion Fast Forward.
Graffiti,Tribal Bright.


Floral Enthusiast.

Moving Sitting Still: Simultaneity.

Monday, March 31, 2014

A New Look.

Washington Angel, Photo Toile La La.
The angel seemed to symbolize things dear to my heart.  She reminded me of trips to Washington to see my daughter - a student there at one time.  And wonderful trips to Smithsonian museums.  It was time though for something older - and hat-related... and something with the flowers and fluttering things of Spring.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

An Embroidery Toolbox.

It was a wonderful surprise to hear my daughter express an interest in embroidery.  An apple close to the tree (me), she draws and enjoys creating journals and scrapbooks - however, she never displayed a penchant for needle and thread, so it was a great pleasure to sit together and practice stitching.

With her own roots and wings, she already imagined scenes to embroider.  She needs to be able to quickly outline and fill in images she designs and transfers to fabric.  For her preliminary creations, we chose basic stitches:  back stitch, split stitch, satin stitch - and for fun... french knots. In a plastic toolbox, we assembled the essentials:  an assortment of six-strand cotton embroidery floss, some wool yarn for variety, a needle threader, large-eye needlepoint and embroidery needles, a circular embroidery hoop, loosely-woven fabric, and scissors.

First, I taught her how to wrap and roll the thread between thumb and forefinger to make a knot.  We discussed ways to avoid tangling the thread, such as using an arm length and guiding the thread at the back of the needlework if necessary.  There are plenty of thread storage options available, but in my own embroidery box I have small plastic (nickel-size) curtain rings to which I attach the thread with a larks-head knot.  I store short, usable lengths of thread in sandwich bags or small glass jars... keeping them color coded ideally.

Since experiencing a major friendship bracelet phase, my daughter still had big tangled knots of 6-strand floss - which we detangled, cut into arm-lengths, and placed on the curtain rings.  Some bundles of floss remained intact in their paper wrappers, so we experimented with pulling the thread from them without creating a snarl.  I just found this link though and it is very helpful.

With a Sharpie pen, she labeled each stitch after practice - which seemed like a good way to remember how to find specific stitch tutorials online.

Keeping my fingers crossed - hoping she will want to learn to sew clothing... but one stitch (step) at a time.

It seems to be in our genes... I have an antique sewing sampler book assembled by my Great Grandmother from a time when most girls learned such arts.  Learn more about schoolgirl samplers here.  See my Great Grandmother's sewing sampler at my dressesandhats wordpress blog.

I recently found a little DMC museum book of Early American samplers and thought it interesting to read the history of such creations.  Samplers were so often started as a way to learn stitches for useful and decorative needlework which would play a role in daily life.  Fabric, for many, was costly and samplers such as these were saved as heirlooms - preserving needlework knowledge and creativity.

Three 19th century stitch samplers:
stitches: cross, back, straight, running scotch, tent - Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum

stitches:  herringbone, cross, satin - Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum

stitches:  satin, four-sided, running, and withdrawn work with needle fill-in - Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Wardrobe: Secret Formula Discovered.

Drab days plus dreary weather need not equate dull dressing, here's a secret formula... mix a traditional drab - olive or grey for instance, add a variation of that drab (olive variations veer to teal or mustard), then enliven the components with a contrasting color.  For extra zing, throw in a bit of pattern in drab tones or featuring bits of bright from the mixture.
two wardrobe secret formula color mixes - Toile La La
Two examples - minus the bit of pattern - are pictured above:  Vreeland Perfect Red with jade and blue-olive, yellow-olive with saffron gold and cobalt.

To use this secret formula, concentrate on color rather than design... it's a formula that works well with simply-structured, basic wardrobe staples.  A scarf, tie, pocket square, or socks easily introduce the flash of pattern.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Observation of Fashion Parallels.

New Wave, sampling, Hip Hop, graffiti, world music, MTV... these are some of the catalysts which yielded such interesting avant garde and asymmetrical fashions of the 80s.  If you take a close look around you - on the catwalk, in magazines - many of those 80s trends appeal still today.   Particularly via blazers and wingtip/brogue/oxford shoes, menswear for women has enjoyed a resurgence for a good while now.  Also stemming from the 80s are still-percolating vintage, goth, and steampunk trends.

These are things I discuss in my 80s Fashion Design Book 1: Drawn - available at Etsy.  An excerpt:
Toile La La collage featuring late 80s magazine tearsheet. 80s Fashion Design Book 1: Drawn.
This image appears on page 34 of the 77-page zine, and on page 23 of the 120-page book.  The book includes much more commentary via endnotes - as well as inspiration lists, whereas the zine leans toward the visual - with larger images and much less text.

"Pre-Vintage:  Before widespread enthusiasm for vintage... this was an image - marked Tim Jenkins - cut from a magazine and glued into my small, black late 80s/early 90s sketch/scrapbook.  For me, it signals the advent or cusp of America's fascination with vintage finds.  The ensemble seems simultaneously goth and flapper-esque, not quite steampunk.  Her backpack/purse is the touch of youth and modernity.  I like how she is running about in her fringe and hat and long, knotted strand of beads on a muddy, blustery, grey day. 
Thrift or vintage dressing... didn't really catch on until the late 80s.  Vintage and recycled clothing became popular, trendy, closer to the 90s.... .
The ideas behind many of the clothes we wore in the 80s were not new - but the clothes were.  Here though, the vintage look seems authentic, giving this image an uncommon quality or sense of otherness.  It's a thought-out, not thrown-on, ensemble... the dark bits from history with a speck-of-color bow."