You cannot deconstruct unless you know how to construct. - Alexander McQueen

archive for July, 2006

The Dominion of Subtle

Thursday, July 27th, 2006

Learning how to sew and design clothes leads us through many stages of development. These stages are borne out differently for all of us, depending on how we are taught. Early stages might be dominated by prints with simpler patterns. Intermediate stages are an exploration of various color and fabric combinations, along with silhouettes from the past. A good many designers – while they may have a fine command of the craft - find comfort or success at an intermediate level of development. Masters, however, have acquired such a fine-tuned attention to detail embracing all aspects of design that the effect they achieve has graduated to the realm of subtlety.

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image: Chanel spring 2006 couture


Distressed Dress

Wednesday, July 26th, 2006

Italian designer Daniela Gregis’ aesthetic relies on reminiscences of her countryside, complete with allusions to the satisfaction of a hard day’s work and devotion to family and faith. These old-fashioned references, plainly stated in the well-worn look of s/s 2006, have morphed seamlessly into something progressively urban for the a/w 2006-7 show.

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image: Daniela Gregis s/s 2006

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image: Daniela Gregis a/w 2006-7


Wearable of the Never Never

Saturday, July 22nd, 2006

Eternal Summer. Ease and simplicity. A laid-back atmosphere. The allure of brands from Australia and New Zealand is in their wearability and caprice. Prints, either exotic florals or geometrics, and embellishments are a draw toward the classically feminine. The fashion coming out of these two countries is magnetic, enough so that it warrants a visit.

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image: Gemma Ward and her twin brothers British Vogue, July 2006


The Fruit Seller of Nizhny Novgorod

Tuesday, July 18th, 2006

Natalia Vodianova’s story reads like a fairy tale. In her early teens she helped support her family by selling fruit on the streets of Nizhny Novgorod, Russia. Today she’s a mother of two, married to a wealthy Englishman and one of the world’s top models. Fortune has been very good to this 24- year-old, but the success she has found is also due to her tenacity and positive attitude.

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image: Natalia Vodianova Vogue Italia, March 2004


Suzhou Cobblers’ Garden of Abundance

Thursday, July 13th, 2006

“I have customers who wear their slippers inside only and others who wear them all the time. And there are even people who put them on the shelf.” Indeed, a pair of slippers from Suzhou Cobblers can be mistaken for the purely ornamental. Huang Meng Qi (”Denise”) along with her team of abundantly skilled artists create footwear with themes that “reflect Shanghai’s grandest era”. Her designs echo the artistry and traditional craftsmanship that her style-conscious grandmother would have worn. Ms. Huang’s instinct to create footwear and accessories with the same attention to quality and cultural themes leads her on the right path, then, because her designs attract the style-conscious of today.

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image: Green Tea shoe


Combining Color: Part II - Urban Cues

Tuesday, July 11th, 2006

When a color scheme is inspired by an urban environment, it’s not so much about pulling together different colors as it is combining shades along a continuum of the same color. Urban color schemes, if not on a grayscale, tend to be washed-out. When traditional urban garb is grayscale, greater attention is paid to the silhouette - the architecture of the silhouette mimics the architecture of a cityscape. This description defines the first of two genuinely urban looks: the Urbane and the Post-Apocalyptic Urban Primitive.

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image: Yves Saint Laurent a/w 2006-7

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image: Undercover a/w 2006-7


Combining Color: Part I - Nature

Saturday, July 8th, 2006

When I design garments, an issue that constantly distracts like a gadfly is the potential for hideous color combination. The idea terrifies me. Color chemistry is a subjective affair, and I would argue that combined colors are only as pleasing as the fabrics they are dyed or printed on. In other words, it’s hard to go wrong with color, so long as the fabrics used are appropriate for the design concept.

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image: Temperley s/s 2006