As we start embarking on the third* phase of the project (digital representations), we’ve been very curious of what is already out there in terms of technologies and their applications. Liam is great with everything digital, to the point that we promoted him our official digital spokesperson. A few new collaborations might be coming our way, but more on them later. For now, here are a few projects that caught our eyes:
Happy New Year! After a much deserved break, we are back. To start 2019 with the right foot, Caroline, Alistair and I just crashed a BA Fashion Womenswear class to hear tutor Heather Sproat talk about couture (tailoring) techniques, based on her time working at Dior around 20 years ago. Needless to say, Heather’s class was fascinating, filled with interesting parallels to our project. Here are 5 points we took back with us:
In this instalment of ‘body in motion’, we look at the close relationship between our chosen designers and dance. All our designers had at some point tipped their toes in the world of dance, either through finding inspiration in dancers, dressing them or actively collaborating with companies to produce costumes for performances. It is indeed interesting, if not revealing, that the more we think about the concepts of body/movement/performance, the more intertwined our designers and their creations become with the idea of a body in motion. Continue reading “Research – body in motion (dance)”
It is not about the pattern, it is all about the body and what the garments does with the body.
Charles James was an Anglo-American designer renowned for his sculptural creations. From his early days working in architecture, he developed the mathematical and geometric skills that would later inform his design process. He applied carefully placed cuts, seams and under structures to create innovative shapes that were at times independent of the body underneath. Continue reading “Charles James – Biography”
Footage of Charles in his workshop measuring a mannequin, ca. 1946.
Madeleine Vionnet retrospective exhibition, curated by Pamela Golbin, Musée des Arts Décoratifs, 2009
In this instalment of ‘body in motion’, we look at footages of fashionable poses during the 1920s and 40s. This research will help to inform the animations of the digital visualisations.
In this is the second instalment in the research series ‘body in motion’ we look at the training of models throughout the 20th century. This research will help to inform the animations of the digital visualisations.
The first fittings for the Charles James toile marked a pivotal moment within the project, it officially moved us from stage one (archival research and dress selection) to stage two (making process). In the research context, it also moved us to the next stage, that is thinking of the garments in relation to the body and movement. When Kitty, our fit model, first walked the Charles James toile across the corridor of the MA Fashion studio, she allowed us to identify not only the flaws in the toile that needed to be addressed, but also the importance of movement in achieving the right effect. Kitty is used to walking the current runway walk, with fast and strong steps coming from the hips (click on the link below).
This pictorial shoe research was conducted to inform the height of the 3D avatars (‘bodies’) that will wear the digital visualisations. It aimed to identify what kind of shoes were worn with the chosen dresses, looking at both photographs of models/clients wearing our designers’ creations (not necessarily the chosen ones) and contemporary shoes in the online databases of the Victoria & Albert Museum and The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The selected shoes range from 3 years prior to 3 years post the creation date of our chosen dresses. For instance, the Charles James dress dates 1945, so we looked at shoes ranging from 1942 to 1948. This allowance reflected the slower changes in footwear styles, mostly in the early 20th century.
Here is a video of Kitty (our fit model) during one of the Charles James fittings.
Filmed using Google’s new VR180 technology, this video forms part of the projects experimentation with new digital technologies, knitting together two single channel videos to create a 3D image.
Created using 3D imaging software combined with an iPhone camera, this virtual model was created within the museum archive. Utilising emergent technologies as a means of quickly capturing a 3-dimensional visualisation in the archive space. Continue reading “3D Imaging”
During the summer, when Central Saint Martins was relatively quiet (albeit for a few short courses) Patrick and Esme were on full speed working on the toiles. They managed to create 7 in total – 3 for Charles James, 2 for Halston and 2 for Comme des Garçons.
Cindy Sherman’s series Fashion Pictures challenge the industry’s conventions of beauty and grace. Her first such commission, made in 1983, parodies typical fashion photography and features garments from the Comme des Garçons AW1983-84 collection. Continue reading “Comme des Garçons – Cindy Sherman”
We started our museum visits at The Costume Institute to select and create an initial pattern for the Charles James dress. For conservation reasons, museums do not allow researchers to touch their objects – a rule that made Patrick and Esme (P&E) a bit anxious, since they had never done a pattern out of a garment they could not touch. But as they say, some of the best ideas come out of limitations! Liam took a number of detail photographs of our selected dress, which he then had printed on life-size and later digitally stitched together.
Unlike our other chosen dresses, Halston’s sarong dress (in all its variations) was widely featured in the press. Here are some of its appearances, as they were found so far. Thank you to the staff in The Museum at FIT for sharing them with us during our New York visit in April 2018.
A couple of images of Esme, as she tackles the first Halston toile.
Here are Patrick, Miriam (Graduate diploma Fashion student) and Kitty (MA Fashion student and our fit model) on one of the final fittings of the Charles James toile.
Madeleine Vionnet was passionately against plagiarism, adopting a number of clever measures to protect her work. In 1919 she started taking copyright photographs (front, side and back) for each garment she produced. Later these evolved into a single snap simultaneously showing all three views through the clever positioning of mirrors. Each garment was also christened with its own unique name and number, and labelled with Vionnet’s signature and fingerprint.
‘When a woman smiles, her dress must smile also’
Madeleine Vionnet (1876-1975) was part of a group of creative women who transformed fashion in the early 20th century. That she preferred to identify herself as a dressmaker rather than a designer is a testament to her commitment to the craft. She sought to bring about a cohesion between body and dress, starting her design process on a half-scale mannequin and working with the features of the fabric to value the natural contours of the body. Continue reading “Madeleine Vionnet – Biography”
While in Japan, back in May 2018, Liam conducted some research in the library of Bunka Fashion College. Here is a Comme des Garçons editorial from 1983.