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Posts Tagged ‘fashion designers’

quoteBecause for me – always, but now more than ever – the human has to be at the center of the process. In these past decades, we’ve talked a lot about numbers – the first, the best. And in a way, this has created a kind of competition that I don’t think you really need. You can forget about creativity and the humanity because it’s all about money and marketing. And that’s not what fashion is for. Fashion is about dreaming, inspiring.

Pierpaolo Piccioli, Creative Director at Valentino.

This quote is from a discussion in Harper’s Bazaar  with designers about what’s important to them right now during these challenging times. (Summer, 2020)

The reason fashion has become more about numbers than people is because many of the houses are now owned by big corporations. It’s not a designer running his own house anymore, it’s a celebrity designer paid a lot of money to produce and produced and produced … until he’s used up and another one is put in place and so on. (Think Alexander McQueen, John Galliano, Alber Albaz).

Fashion cannot thrive without imagination and imagination needs time and space to develop.

 

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41k91A-4djLThe English have this knack of putting together the weirdest combinations of clothing and accessories that somehow – with their warped sense of good, bad, and just plain weird taste – inspire the rest of the world. English style at its best is totally natural, fiercely individual and girlishly contrary. It can be funny, tough, sexy, clever and perverse, all at the same time. 

Luella Bartley – English fashion designer and fashion journalist.

This quote is from Ms. Bartley’s book, Luella’s Guide to English Style (Haper Collins, 2010).

I haven’t read this book but I must!

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One of the assignments in the fashion history class I recently completed was to find historical fashion references in current fashion. In magazines I looked for examples covering ancient clothing to the 20th century and matched with historical images from books, plus I had to write a comment.

The late 20th Century: Mini-Dress

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The simple silhouette, high waist and short hem of Michael Kors design revisits (yet again) the mini-skirt fad of the 1960s. (Additionally Kors use of brocade fabric and jeweled embellishment feels a bit 18th century Baroque.)

Of course I love the matching hat! Plus you can’t see very well, but the mules are made of the same dress fabric. Go matchy, matchy!

This is the final installment of Finding Historical Fashion Today. I hope ODFL readers enjoyed the series. If the stats are any indication, you did.

There will be more historical fashion posts in the future. Stay tuned.

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Mary Quant. Illustration by Zoe Taylor. From Selvedge magazine.

Miss Mary Quant – how could I have imagined a career in fashion without Mary Quant? She created the miniskirt for heaven’s sake. Forgive me – where would Topshop be without her? She also created the idea of Saturday night dressing, making things ‘upstairs’ that literally came off the machine and into her King’s Road shop that day in order to serve her adoring fans’ weekend characters. 

Luella Bartley, English fashion designer and fashion journalist.

This quote is from the May/June 2011 issue of Selvedge magazine. The theme of this issue is all things Britannia and Ms. Bartley was asked to choose six women who reflect the British unique and quirky sense of style.

Mary Quant was on her list. Check back for some of the others in the weeks to come.

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Here’s a little story recounted by French fashion designer Paul Poiret (1879-1944) in his autobiography, King of Fashion.

paulpoiretI passed many times in front of the shop of this English master without daring to cross the threshold. One day, when I was feeling in cavalier mood, and since I needed a suit, I went in and ordered one, not, however, without asking the price, through fear of some unpleasant surprise. I was told one hundred and eighty francs – and I gave my order. 

“When shall I come try it on?” I added. 

“Our clothes are made in London,” I was told. “… and yours will not be ready for seventeen days.” 

… and in seventeen days I returned. Filled with emotion in the fitting room, I saw my coat arrive in the hands of the classic tailor, wearing a measure round his neck. I was astonished that they did not try on the trousers. He called the man who received me: “The trousers, Monsieur? What trousers? You did not order any trousers, nor a waistcoat either.” 

In the 1910s Paul Poiret was known for liberating women from the corset, only to confine their movement with the hobble skirt. Influenced by Asian aesthetics and theater, he was called “King of Fashion” and traveled extensively, including to America where he showed his designs and lectured.

I just finished Poiret’s autobiography, King of Fashion (V&A Publishing) first published in 1931. He led an interesting life and he was a good writer, but I was disappointed that he didn’t discuss his design process, his influences, and perhaps share some of his insights into the fashion industry of the era. I know that he fell out of favor after WWI and I was hoping that he might shed some light on that time of his life. I’m also aware that he met and encouraged designer Elsa Schiaparelli and I would have loved to know what he had to say about that, but no mention.

What he does discuss is his childhood and young adult life working for houses of Douchet and Worth. He goes into detail about opening his first fashion house and the many parties he hosted and attended. There’s lots of name dropping, which meant nothing to me as they were all French and a very long time ago.

Overall The King of Fashion is a good read, if you’re not expecting much about fashion.

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Lady Sybil Crawley (Jessica Brown Findlay) shockingly sports Harem Pants, in season one of  Downton Abbey, 1913.  I think of  Paul Poiret, who was cutting edge in fashion design at the time. Costumes by Susannah Buxton.

Many people won’t realise that it can take six or seven specialist skills to create a costume, often including millinery, corsetry and tailoring. We might have five or six fittings if it’s a complicated costume and each piece can take at least a week to complete, depending on the intricacy of the design.  

Susannah Buxton – British costume designer. This quote is from an interview with Selvegde magazine. (The Brits spell realize with an s.)

Ms. Buxton has been working in costume design for 30 years having won many awards including a BAFTA and an Emmy. She’s known for her work in television PBS shows such as Downton Abbey and Poldark.

She is also one of the co-founders of Costume Symposium –  three days of lecturers and workshops for costumers and students. Masters in their craft teach workshops on making corsets, embroidery, millinery, gloves and more.  Ms. Buxton says as her generation retires these necessary tools of the trade are dying out and resources for teaching such are limited. She wants to help pass along these skills and techniques to the next generation.

The annual event is new since 2018 and has so far been held during the fall in different locations around the UK. Because of the pandemic, this year has been cancelled but there are plans for spring 2021. Click here for more information. 

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A few of Anna Sui’s vintage inspired dresses. Part of the 2019 exhibit, The World of Anna Sui at the Museum of Arts & Design in NYC.

Everyone wears t-shirts and jeans. Everyone wears jeans with a little pretty top … that’s the extent of our fashion right now. So, why not give them something a little bit more, but with the same ease. 

Anna Sui – American fashion designer.

Ms. Sui said this in 2006! And I suppose since then jeans have been replaced by leggings.

How about a dress for a change? Dresses can be so easy to wear and cool for hot temps. Plus a dress is an instant elevated look.

 

 

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Marc Jacobs strikes a pose in Harper’s Bazaar, May 2020. Photo: Zoey Grossman.

I was leaving my shrink one day in a Celine leopard coat and rhinestone hair clips – I was done up. I noticed this sanitation worker staring at me and thought he was a hater, but then he said, ‘Love that outfit, man, you go.’

Marc Jacobs – American fashion designer.

I love that his handbag, by Hermes, has a cup holder.

Marc Jacobs is a controversial designer, but I have always liked him. Often his designs are vintage inspired, which appeals to me.

Word has it that Jacobs has lost his way in fashion. I took a peek online at his spring 2020 show and he’s all over the map. There’s no cohesion to the line, which includes 40s-inspired suits, 70s-style maxi dresses, 60s mini-dresses and some avant-garde dresses a la Balenciaga. All colors, all patterns, shapes, silhouettes are included. Hats run the gamut, too.

In total contradiction, the show itself was minimalist. It took place in a large empty venue with no runway, none of the usual fashion show hoopla. Just the audience and the models, who initially came out all together and walked between and past the audience, reconvened in the back and then came out one at a time, keeping a reasonable pace (nice for journalists and anyone who really wants to see the clothes).

I read that since the shutdown Jacobs has been posting selfies on Instagram. That’s got me wondering what his post-pandemic designs will be like.

 

 

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One of the assignments in the fashion history class I recently completed was to find historical fashion references in current fashion. In magazines I looked for examples covering ancient clothing to the 20th century and matched with historical images from books, plus I had to write a comment.

I hopped right on it and started looking when the class began in January and it took me pretty much the whole semester. It wasn’t something you could get done in one sitting (I think that some of the other students might have tried). It was old-school cut and paste and I really had fun with it.

I’m going to share my findings with ODFL readers over the next weeks. First up is the Schenti:

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Tune in again next week.

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The Tear Dress by Elsa Schiaparelli.

 

In difficult times fashion is always outrageous. 

Elsa Schiaparelli (1890-1973), Italian born fashion designer.

Schiaparelli is my favorite designer of all time. Known for her collaboration with Surreal artist Salvador Dali, Schiaparelli designs were unique and fanciful and very much of the Art Deco era.  She turned the shape of a shoe into a hat and circus animals became buttons.

In this quote I wonder if Schiaparelli means that the idea of fashion during challenging times is outrageous. Or is she saying that fashion itself is (or should be) outrageous during such times.

Let’s go with the latter, and if it’s true then 2020 should see some extreme fashion, like the Schiaparelli dress pictured above. The Tear dress was part of the designer’s Circus Collection for summer 1938. The printed image on the delicate fabric is of cut skin reveling dark red blood underneath. There are actual slashes in the mantle worn over the head (pictured above left), which reminds me of the popularity of slashed fabrics during the 16th century.

Judith Watt says of the dress in her book Vogue on Elsa Schiaparelli (Quadrille Publishing, 2012), “The Tear dress remains a singularly hostile work … Taken out of political context in which General Franco was to seize complete power in Spain and Hitler was poised to annex Czechoslovakia and Austria, its meaning and impact is lost.”

Hostile garb for hostile times. What do we wear to reflect our current state of outrage?

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