Saturday, August 10, 2019

I See Pretty...

I've spent a lot of time these past weeks thinking about this exhibit - why the fascination?

I suppose it's because I don't really see clothing... I see art

I see amazing artistry in a particularly sculptural form

I see brilliant creativity in taking something we are all intimately familiar with and re-inventing it in a new way

 I see unbounded skill and workmanship in the construction details

And I see pretty...

I took many pictures, but no notes

All I need to know I can learn from the photos I took

For reasons I still don't know the red one below was another dress I absolutely adored - my second favourite of the show. I thought it was brilliant... the silk is so structural and this dress showcases that beautifully

(I have a small selection of silk fabrics of my own and since I got home I've often taken them out, unfolded one or two and then scrunched them, placing them in an upright position and enjoying how the fabric stays put - no wonder the designers love to work with it so much.)

The dress and coat you see below were also big favourites - the intricate designs of the coat paired with the simple elegance of the dress... this is one I would wear

But my favourite part of the entire exhibition was the display of the toiles...

The toile is the final "draft" of the garment, allowing the designer to ensure that the form and fit of a garment are correct before making it up in costly fabric. Usually made of a fine calico or muslin, a fabric that would unmercilessly reveal any flaws in either design lines or fit, the light-coloured fabric also allowed for making highly visible marks for required adjustments. Their simple beauty, with the workings of the design evident, drew you into the process of garment design and construction in an evocative way, allowing a better understanding of structure and shape.

That they have been preserved as much as the final garments themselves is testimony to their significance in the design process.

Haute Couture is "Slow Fashion"...

When I was a teenager in need of a party dress I sewed it. I wasn't a big fan of dress-making - zippers just about did me in, and I have taken great delight in avoiding making anything with either a zipper, a dart or facings. In fact, at the quilt shop where I work, if a customer asks me about any of the above, I tell them very sweetly that I am unable to help them because I have a personal rule when it comes to sewing,

"I only make things that are flat"
I say
"But I can find someone else who can help you"

(even though we're a quilt shop we do get the odd person who asks...)

Anyway, a year or so ago I got a hankering to sew a frock so I  hiked myself down to the other fabric store in town and found a pattern, some pretty cotton voile, and - a zipper!

It has all sat in the cupboard since then, waiting for me to work up my courage... after visiting the Dior exhibit, I think I'm ready to dangle a tape measure around my neck and give it a go.

Wish me luck! 


Rachel said...

Absolutely, I wish you luck, but I'm sure the inspiration will carry you through!

Karen said...

I, too wish you luck! I last sewed a dress for myself about 25 years ago. (Not exactly flat sewing but I certainly had less of me to sew for than there is now! :) ) I made a dress with Daisy Kingdom fabric and a Daisy Kingdom pattern for my first Mothers' Day. I made my infant daughter a dress using the same fabric line and a full, very ruffly baby dress pattern. The next Mothers' Day I smocked my daughter a bishop bubble from remnants of my dress fabric that she wore for two years. Sweet memories. You have me thinking about sewing for me!

Marj Talbot said...

Good luck with your new endeavor. It's been many years since I made anything for myself to wear. I have ventured into light weight stretch fabrics and have made a number of tank tops. Easy but had to learn all over again about tension changes and appropriate needles for each fabric.
It's definitely easier to stick to "flat" things. Have fun.

Karen said...

oh I definitely wish you luck! You're a braver woman than me....
The toiles gave me those tummy flips too...the pleats, the folds, the pins the drape....I would be happy to achieve perfection like that if it never became a wearable gsrment.

Magpie's Mumblings said...

I loved seeing the amazing dresses - and learned a new term (toile). I think, like you, I would have found them at least as interesting to see as the finished objects. I am not a clothing sewer and I have a bad experience in high school home ec sewing class to blame. I wish you luck with your new frock and hope to see pictures when it's done!

Christine Barnes said...

Fabulous dresses but I too love the toiles. Don’t they just make your fingers itch to start stitching on them in cream thread? I used to make lots of clothes in my other life but haven’t done any dressmaking for donkey’s years. Can’t wait to see how you get on... but I already know you will figure it out and make a stupendous job!

Laura Wickware said...

Ohhhhh! I can't wait to see what you make! I will supply a bottle of wine for inspiration to get you going, LOL. Maybe 2 ;)