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

archive for the 'Craftsmanship' department

The Contrast of Klaus Haapaniemi

Friday, August 18th, 2006

A person may come across the designs of Klaus Haapaniemi in a variety of ways, but always the effect is the same: absolute fascination. Fashion in particular is a good fit for Haapaniemi’s work, as he admits to me, “I’ve grown up with fabrics and prints, when I was a child my grandmother was designing garments for theatre plays. I always wanted to do huge prints for people to wear.” Indeed, the impression he makes in any medium is huge.

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Klaus Haapaniemi for Givy


Megan Park’s Wardrobe of Make-Believe

Friday, August 4th, 2006

Being absorbed in a world of make-believe transforms its youthful participants. Putting on one of Megan Park’s beaded and embroidered dresses holds the same potential. A weekend afternoon engaged in playing dress-up from a wardrobe full of Megan Park’s creations can easily turn into an evening’s indulgence that is immune to distraction.

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image: Megan Park a/w 2006-7


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


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


Look Smart

Wednesday, June 21st, 2006

A tailored look equates to a modern look. Tailored garments are cut with precision, using an individual’s measurements. Precision denotes sophistication, and to be sophisticated is to be mature. Modern trends suffer from a lack of maturity. The following tailored looks from the fall 2006 shows are stylish in their refined structures, and are a far cry from the naiveté that currently crowds our city sidewalks (particularly along the LA/NYC axis).

Aquascutum a/w 2006-7
image: Aquascutum a/w 2006-7


Greek Lessons

Thursday, June 15th, 2006

Sophia Kokosalaki’s s/s 2006 collection is a divine example of taking traditional elements and spinning them into modern variations. There is so much to learn from this collection. Foremost is the effect of drapery. I would like to believe that it’s the result of genetic memory, given her Greek roots, but that would deny her the praise she should receive for hard work.

Sophia Kokosalaki s/s 2006
image: Sophia Kokosalaki s/s 2006