Wednesday, November 28, 2007

My co-worker Don, who I like a whole lot, said today while working on a gathered dress “Oh man this is haaard.”
Nicolas smiled and said “Yes, but that is what makes it so fun.”

Lunch conversation II: or, second languages are fun!

NC: So, what’s the difference between a button-up shirt and a button-down shirt?
Me: Well, I think a button-up shirt is any shirt that buttons up the front, and a button-down shirt has a collar that buttons down to the shirt.
NC: So it’s not like a glass is half full/glass half empty thing?
Us: No…
NC: And it doesn’t have to do with whether you start buttoning your shirt from the top or the bottom?
Us: No…
NC: Because that way you could have both in one shirt – you could button it up, or button it down! Or start in the middle and go up and then down…


I get tired of seeing things pretty quickly – when I say “that is SO last season” or “I am SO over that” I’m usually making fun of the fashion world, but the truth is, my brain just gets tired of processing the same visual information, especially if those visuals aren’t fabulously aesthetically pleasing in the first place. Right now I’m having a little tizzy over fake designer bags. They’re everywhere, and they’re so damn ugly. The originals are usually fairly overdone in the first place, and the knock-offs all have this sort of extreme hardware, shiny leather, giant (fake) logos, baggy poufy pleaty-ness with no regard for good design. All the trends are just thrown into one floppy oversized bag. And everyone carries them. It’s visually assaulting.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Conversation at lunch today:

Co-worker I: I think there's a certain age when women should have more heels in their closet than tennis shoes.
Co-worker II: Oh, I totally agree.
Me: Wait, what qualifies as "a certain age?"
Co-worker I: Oh...21, cause then they're not teenagers anymore, you know.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Here's a picture of the Spring/Summer 2008 Proenza Schouler dress I worked on today. All I really did was copy the pattern - SS08 is getting sent to production soon and all the patterns have to be changed from a size two to a size four or six - from runway model size to the mid-range size of the label's target market. The patterns also have to be cleaned up and made crisp and perfect (my job this morning). I was excited to work with this pattern because the garment looks a little complicated -- in reality, without the sleeve, it's just three pieces. Both the front and the back are single pieces shaped like giant up-side-down Ls and then there's a draped piece that comes down from the center front, and under the sleeved arm. I love garments that are draped in interesting ways but end up being so simple -- uninterrupted by seams, the flow of the fabric is especially beautiful.
This post is borrowed from Scott Schumann of the Sartorialist. I loved his thoughts, as well as this lady's getup. There's also an interesting followup debate at the Sartorialist website (

A Less Narrow View

Often I read comments on this blog like "Shouldn't clothing enhance a woman's form and femininity? " or something of that nature.

I think this is a very narrow view of what clothing should/could do for a person.

Clothing only needs to keep you protected from the elements, past that what you do with them is your option.

This young lady is a great example of self-expression and intellectual dressing.

Nothing she is wearing really speaks to WHAT she is physically ( fat or skinny, tall or short, male or female) but her look speaks volumes about WHO she is mentally.

Is this fashion? I don't know but it surely is an extremely evolved version of self-expression.


Sunday, November 25, 2007

united bamboo

I love what they're trying to do with these clothes. The fact that they can even make the shapes stay in place while on the body is no small feat. I think it raises a question about geometry and the flattering lines of the female form. Very little of what I saw on had any respect for the waist. I think that it would be fairly difficult to use such large boxy shapes to produce anything other than a large boxy silhouette. Which is not to say that, given a chance I wouldn't take it apart and see how it was made. It makes me curious about deco era clothes and their fascination with the orient and boxy silhouettes.

I love this collar

And this skirt

The real tour de'force

Saturday, November 24, 2007

fabric origami

I was at Opening Ceremony yesterday (store off broadway on howard in soho) and there were a few lines of clothes with some pretty impressive origami based designs. Some of them were hard to figure out even when i turned them inside out and poked around looking at the seam lines and the grain of the fabric -- the only line I remember the name of was United Bamboo - well known, I think they even have their complete collection at -- I don't remeber the others but I'm going back and will update this --
If you're in new york, check out opening ceremony if you haven't before. They have more clothes, etc, with intersting ideas and construction quirks than any other place I've been so far.
I overheard Mr. C tell my friend Erin the other day “You don’t control the fabric, the fabric controls you.” I thought it was the single best bit of draping wisdom I’ve heard yet. Thinking that way has started to make draping feel less difficult (note that I did not say easy.) You gently guide the muslin into the shape you’re looking for, taking into full account what the muslin naturally wants to do, which results in the fabric flowing and hanging gracefully. More to come on this thought – not nearly enough experience to really expound yet.

With auto caps and a “smart” computer, writing muslin over and over has resulted in some pretty funny typos – for instance, I just typed “you gently guide the Muslim into the shape you’re looking for.” Hmmm.
I finished a Peter Som Fall 2008 today. Let’s just say there was a lot going on. I’m assuming there’s some sort of unspoken confidentiality contract (??) that prevents me from dishing on what various fabulous designers’ collections will look like come fashion week in February –- but I was laughing to myself imagining the exclamatory headlines detailing the upcoming trends in fashion mags 6 months from now. It’s so fun to see the designs with relatively no idea what the final fabric will look like – print or solid? bright or subdued? All we know is the basic texture – silky, knit etc, which is of course necessary for draping purposes. The final fabric changes everything though, and I’m curious to see if it’ll save some of the designs I’m pretty unimpressed with at this point – or, even, overwhelm some of the pieces that I’d wear in a heartbeat just as plain undyed muslin mockups.
But the Peter Som. It was loads of fun to drape. There were bits of it we referred to as bunny ears, another as Mickey Mouse, and at one point I crossed out L side bustle and wrote in L side train. And then I assured Nicolas that yes, turquoise was the word he was looking for. Yup, there was a lot going on. Apparently Mr. Som’s cliental are a little more advanced in years, and I’m hoping to someday see this number on some woman of great stature and presence, caring it off with grace and gumption. You’d have to be a little bit of a fireball to do so.
It’s been awhile (alright, a week or so…ages relatively speaking) since I’ve really read a fashion magazine. I was wondering about it, and realized that my interest has waned since starting at NCI, I think because I see and work with so many gorgeously executed garments, that I get my fill. Honestly, I rarely see many things in the standard fashion magazines that are as interesting or well made or well conceived as what comes through our little shop. Mr. C sure does know how to pick his clients. And of course, how to pattern their designs.
I haven’t set my sewing studio up yet. Oh how I yearn. It’s been…12 days since I arrived in NYC, and today I got a lead on a drafting table – my landlord may have one and might also cut down another table for me to use for my machines. I also have a large wardrobe, which is going to be perfect to hang all of my patterns up in. Apparently it came from down the road at Snug Harbour, at an old hospice house where sailors used to go to die. Yesterday I discovered, written on the inside of the right door, a series of dates, all in the same handwriting: March 4, 1968. April 11, 1968. July 30, 1968. At least a dozen of them… My first thought was, death dates??
Anyway, I miss my sewing studio and am thrilled at the possibility of soon getting to start of one of the dozens of plans floating around my brain.