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)”
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.
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.
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.
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.