Research – body in motion (dance)

Isadora Duncan, 1900. © Eadweard Muybridge/Getty Images
Isadora Duncan, 1900. © Eadweard Muybridge/Getty Images

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)”

Reflections

Rickard Lindqvist, On the Logic of Pattern Cutting: foundational cuts and approximations of the body, Borås, 2013.
Rickard Lindqvist, On the Logic of Pattern Cutting: foundational cuts and approximations of the body, Borås, 2013.

It is not about the pattern, it is all about the body and what the garments does with the body.

Andreas Kronthaler

Charles James – Biography

Charles James by Irving Penn. February 28th, 1948. © The Irving Penn Foundation
Charles James by Irving Penn, February 28th, 1948. © The Irving Penn Foundation

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”

Research – body in motion (runway shows)

 

Balenciaga presentation, Paris 1954. © 2002 Mark Shaw
Balenciaga presentation, Paris 1954. © 2002 Mark Shaw

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).

Charles James, fitting fast

Continue reading “Research – body in motion (runway shows)”

Research – shoes

French shoes, ca. 1922. Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art
French shoes, ca. 1922. Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art

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.

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VR180

 

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.

Liam Leslie

3D Imaging

3D rendering of Vionnet dress from 1935. Image by Liam Leslie for Exploding Fashion.
3D rendering of Vionnet dress from 1935. Image by Liam Leslie for Exploding Fashion.

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”

Work in progress – toiles

Liam Leslie in action. Image by Isabella Coraça for Exploding Fashion.
Liam Leslie in action. Image by Isabella Coraça for Exploding Fashion.

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.

Continue reading “Work in progress – toiles”

Charles James – pattern and photography

Life-size composition by Liam Leslie for Exploding Fashion.
Life-size composition by Liam Leslie for Exploding Fashion.

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.

Continue reading “Charles James – pattern and photography”

Halston – Research

‘The Strapless’ in Women’s Wear Daily, August 1976

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.

Continue reading “Halston – Research”

Vionnet – Copyright photographs

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.

Continue reading “Vionnet – Copyright photographs”

Madeleine Vionnet – Biography

Madeleine Vionnet by Thérèse Bonnet, ca 1925. Librairie Diktats.
Madeleine Vionnet by Thérèse Bonnet, ca 1925. Librairie Diktats.

‘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”

Balenciaga – Original toile

Part of Balenciaga toile from 1965, Palais Galliera. Image by Liam Leslie for Exploding Fashion.
Part of Balenciaga toile from 1965, Palais Galliera. Image by Liam Leslie for Exploding Fashion.
Part of Balenciaga toile from 1965, Palais Galliera. Image by Liam Leslie for Exploding Fashion.
Part of Balenciaga toile from 1965, Palais Galliera. Image by Liam Leslie for Exploding Fashion.

 

Liam Leslie

Comme des Garçons 1970

Comme des Garçons dress from 1970, in the collection of Bunka Fashion College. Image by Liam Leslie for Exploding Fashion.
Comme des Garçons dress from 1970, in the collection of Bunka Fashion College. Image by Liam Leslie for Exploding Fashion.
Comme des Garçons dress from 1970, in the collection of Bunka Fashion College. Image by Liam Leslie for Exploding Fashion.
Comme des Garçons dress from 1970, in the collection of Bunka Fashion College. Image by Liam Leslie for Exploding Fashion.

Liam Leslie