Monday, 22 April 2013

A Hollywood woolly adventure!

Two posts in one day, I'm on overdrive!
When I was living in Antwerp and working with A.F Vandevorst there were always bits of fabric in the studio, samples from textile agents who wanted to sell to the label for the season, pages and pages of small swatches, and larger books of swatches (whenever there was a book of cashmere I would get very excited) which were big enough to sew together into scarves or whatnot. And really rarely, and the most exciting was when a full length of fabric, perhaps bought for a runway sample to made by us the interns, would be left over and discarded.
I would like to share with you some of the results of two of these pieces of fabric, both the most gorgeous wools, one almost felt-like, thick, structured and the loveliest shade of smoky steel blue, the other a softer more drapy khaki, but still with a certain body which created the most beautiful yet strong folds. Ironically I had used both as blankets to cover the clothes, mirrors, racks et all on my first trip to Sydney, where I drove myself, a wonderful experience only needed once (truck parking in Sydney is extremely unfriendly, parking altogether actually, but anyway...)
As with most of my design sessions, I started at around 11pm and didn't sleep until close to 3:30am, which felt really great as I knew I was achieving something special, pats on the back for me haha!
The blue one already had a cutout in the corner which reminded me of where a collar and lapel meet in a jacket, and I was feeling a long stiff cape like garment with a cocoon neckline. Of course after I pinned it and tried to make it sit on the mannequin it was about to slip off, so instinctively I grabbed the neck and held it in place and suddenly the piece was there in its full glory, these big, impressive, powerful, aggressive and yet completely refined shoulders, with no support whatsoever. BANG!

Then a series of other designed came forth; a shorter and asymmetrical version of the cape, with a draped front and one hole for a hand, the other side being at 'sleeve' length. A draped one shouldered top which as I always like to do, could be turned into a pleated skirt, and all could be worn in combination with each other. I loved the absolute strength, no, fierceness of this fabric, both physically and ideologically, it said do not fkuck with me, I will spear you with my shoulders!

The khaki fabric was telling me something else, it was all about sweeping gestures, moving with the wind, organically raw edges and grand drape. It also needed sleeves, and I had bought, at a market, about 8 metres of this almost elephant grey slinky viscose, which looked almost like a fine fine leather. A series of slits, some Mazzy Star, Depeche Mode and F..k Buttons for musical inspiration, was born the coat. Fitted through the back and free form in the front, able to be worn like a blanket when the long drape pulled over one side, or a long column with the short drape thrown over the shoulder, and actually another way which was discovered by the eventual wearer of the coat. A whole combination of snap fastenings would be applied later for comfort and ease of movement (so it wouldn't fall all over the place!).

Now please consider me humble and flattered and completely opportunistic and go getting (good things!), but I was luckily put in touch with a certain fabulous individual in Los Angeles, one of my new favourite cities after I visited last year. In turn, and thanks to the wonders of social networking sites, I chanced a total failure and messaged another fabulous individual whom I had always liked since seeing her gutsy performance in Scream (1996, wow) who I saw would be visiting Melbourne for work, to come and visit Paris '99, have a bubbly, nibble, and all the wonderful things we get up to here. And she replied, hooray! We met for dinner, at a place I had huge expectations for, which totally did not deliver and so shall remain nameless. The fabulous Rose brought a newly made friend of hers, the wonderful Greg, and through all types of conversation, ranging from gun control, gay marriage, fashion, film, and the fact that she had lived in the same room that I had stayed at 'The Chateau' (!), a fantastic evening was had, and a few hours later at the salon the newly made pieces found themselves going across the world to Hollywood, yay! :D

Hope you like x

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