Monday, August 31, 2009

Inspiration: The Peacock

Inspiration: Nature

image from jpaulocv at sxc.hu
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Nature has always been a source of inspiration for designers.
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The brilliant colours of a sunset, the feathers of a peacock, the tone on tone variations of rock strata, the patterns on a leaf, the shape of a tulip, a pink waterlily floating in an emerald pool, lavender fields against  bright blue skies in provence, desert winds creating waves in the sand, ripples of a pebble hitting water, the deep red-golds of autumn leaves against evergreens, dewdrops on a leaf glistening in the dawn.....
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Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Nyonya Kebaya 7

image compliments of Usha & Wei Ching

The main picture shows details of an embroidery design typically used on Nyonya Kebaya's.
The kebaya would be worn with a co-ordinating wrap over sarong. The insert shows the pattern used on the matching sarong.

today we wear these kebaya's over bustier and mermaid skirts, as a light evening jacket over a slip dress, or even over a strappy top and jeans; and baby, that looks good!

The Nyonya Kebaya 6




















images compliments of Usha and Wei Ching

close-ups of embroidery used on Nyonya Kebaya's

Nyonya Kebaya 5





image compliments of Usha & Wei Ching

The Nyonya Kebaya 4


Nyonya's liked to use floral motifs in their embroidery.
image compliments of Usha & Wei Ching.

The Nyonya Kebaya 3

image compliments of Usha & Wei Ching

These are Nyonya kebaya's.

The style/cut is similar to the Malay kebaya, but the Nyonya's liked to use light cotton voiles and incorporated a lot of embroidery in the kebaya's.

During the 50's and 60's, it was the trend to wear a black corset under the Kebaya, so you can see the corset beneath the thin material of the kebaya.

Today, we wear the kebaya over a camisole or a bustier.

The Nyonya Kebaya 2

This is a closer look at the beaded slippers from the previous post.
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the shape of the slipper and the design is drawn on canvas which is cut before beading. tiny glass beads are used.
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if this one looks like english embroidery, you are right.
some of the nyonya bead patterns were inspired by european embroidery.

The Nyonya Kebaya 1

image compliments of Usha & Wei Ching
clockwise from bottom left: gold hair pins, beaded slippers, bridal hankerchief, examples of embroidery on kebaya (3), sarongs (2), more examples of kebaya embroidery (2)


Travel addicts Usha & Wei Ching were in Malacca for the Nyonya Kebaya exhibition. Wish I could have gone along *sob*. But at least we get to see the pics!

Thanks for sharing the photo's ladies!

A bit of background for those who are scratching their heads: "Nyonya who??"

Nyonya's are descended from Chinese immigrants to the Malay peninsula in the 15th & 16th centuries. Culturally, they have adapted to the local Malay culture while retaining most of their chinese heritage and traditions. Their language is a mixture of Malay and Chinese words, and Nyonya food is a scrumptious combination of Malay and Chinese styles of cooking
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The traditional Nyonya way of dressing is another distinguishing feature: they have adapted the sarong kebaya - a long sleeve top over a long sarong - with the addition of embroidery and beading, worn with heavily beaded slippers and distinctive brooches.
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Nyonya's are famous for their embroidery and beading skills.
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Sadly, we see very little hand-embroidered Kebaya's nowadays but in Malacca, you can still buy hand-beaded shoes and slippers.

Inspiration


Even though the trend analysts determine the coming trends, each designer interpret the trends in his/her own way. so where do they get their inspiration from?
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This question is best answered by one of the greatest designers of our time:
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Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.
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Coco Chanel

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Batik - Malaysia/Indonesia - Block Printing Method

Traditional Batik from Yogyakarta, Indonesia
images compliments of my good friends and fellow globe-trotters, Usha and Wei Ching

Batik refers to fabric where the wax resist method of dyeing is used to print or paint patterns, and is native to Malaysia, Indonesia, other SE Asian countries as well as African and Carribean countries.

Traditionally, Batik in Malaysia and Indonesia is made using the block printing method or drawing method.
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Block printing involves the use of a hand-held stamp fashioned from wood or metal. This is then dipped in hot/liquid wax and the pattern stamped onto the fabric in repeating blocks. As the wax seeps into the fabric and dries, the area covered by the wax becomes dye resistant. Coloured dye is then applied to the rest of the fabric either by dipping or by painting.
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Where there are more than 2 colours, the stamping process is repeated with wax applied to a different part of the pattern, and another round of dye applied to the fabric using a different colour.
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The final colours are then fixed and the wax removed by boiling or using a solvent.


Software Downloads

i was asked how i did the photo collages.

i use an old version of adobe photoshop, which i've had for ages from when i did a short graphics design course.

but there's free photoediting software which will do the same thing. here's a link for one site for software downloads, which also has user ratings. the cnet site is a respected site among the IT community:

http://download.cnet.com/windows/digital-photo-software/?tag=rb_content;contentNav

please note that some are free, some are free for a trial period, some are shareware and others are commercial versions for sale. so remember to click on "free" on the search bar to your left. and don't forget to check whether it's for use on your operating system. also please note that cnet may not have reviewed all the offerings.

note: i am not affliated to the site in any way.

Ikat - Malaysia


This is a a piece of Ikat i own.
Ikat is a woven fabric used for wall hangings, bed-spreads and clothing.
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No, my hands weren't shaking when i took the photo.
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This is one of the traditional patterns and has this quite dis-orientating "shaky" look. Like a Monet painting, it is meant to be admired from afar.
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Traditionally, Malaysian Ikat is hand-loomed by women from the Iban tribe, indigenous to Sarawak in East Malaysia. .
The yarns used in Ikat are pre-dyed so the pattern is formed during the weaving process. Today, Ikat is also woven using industrial looms.
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Geographically Malaysia is divided into West (or Peninsula) Malaysia and East Malaysia comprising Sabah and Sarawak; separated by the Straits of Malacca.
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The tribal culture which has been practically erased from West Malaysia by the relentless march of urbanization, is still very evident in East Malaysia.
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Some interesting snippets about the Ibans:
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Iban men are talented and world-famous tattoo artists. They were also head-hunters.
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In 2007, tattoo artists from all over the world, including Finland, US, UK, Italy, Japan and China converged on Borneo (or British Borneo, as Sarawak used to be called) for the International Tattoo Convention. Here's a link to a Borneo tattoo artist, where you can see the traditional Iban tattoo designs:
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It's been a long while since any (known) head-hunting has been done, though if you are interested, you can see shrunken heads at the Iban Longhouse located at the government-run Sarawak Cultural Village. No photo's of shrunken heads at that site.
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Here's a local travel site with some very nice photo's of the village including a photo of Ikat weaving.

For those of you who absolutely must see shrunken heads, look at the photo of "the community space". see that box-like stove thing on the floor? OK, the shrunken heads are strung up with dried leaves on top of the stove and you cannot see them too clearly. The ibans (of old) believed that when the stove is lit, the spirits (residing in the heads) are invoked and they act as guardians of the longhouse. The majority of Ibans today form part of the minority Christian population of Malaysia.

Note: i'm not affliated to any of the sites in any way.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Lingerie Trend Report (from Fashion Trendsetter)


Fashion Trendsetter is a great place for trend news and market commentary on the european retail scene.

They've just published their free Lingerie Trends mini-report which you can download here:

http://www.fashiontrendsetter.com/content/trend-reports/Lingerie-Trends-Mini-Report-UK.html

High waists are making a comeback on the lingerie front, which is great news for those of us with blubber on the upper tummy!

image from fashiontrendsetter "Lingerie Trends Mini-Report UK"

Trend Summary - The Classics

images from style.com

Some designers are playing it safe in the current economic climate, returning to wardrobe staples like camel hair and trench coats, chanel and tweed suits, pin-stripes and prince of wales checks, and double-breasted jackets, in neutral colours.
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It's an opportunity for the rest of us to add some timeless pieces to our wardrobe.
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Mix with the latest styles and accessories for a fresh, to-the-minute look.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Artisan Square Sew Along

from left to right: khaki silk satin, lemongrass silk satin, burnt orange silk satin and khaki linen.

Here are the fabrics for the Sew Along at Artisan Square . i'll be sewing items from the capsule collection which you can see here in an earlier post.
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The sew along is just what's needed to give me the impetus to sew some (badly needed) things for myself!
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We have to make 6 items in 3 months which translates to 2 items per month.
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i'll be posting more pics on the progress.

Trend Summary - Greek Goddesses

images from style.com

Flowing grecian gowns, draped and ruched dresses and tops, swagged skirts. Fashion's love affair with the grecian theme continues into fall. Tuleh and Vera Wang twirled the drapes into florals. Other designers layered sheers on sheers and tone on tone.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Dita Von Teese - The Retro Look

images from buzznet.com
although she could be the subject of a post called "101 corset styles and how to take them off", Dita is just as gorgeous fully clothed. I love her retro looks inspired by fashions from the 30's, 40's and 50's.

Khaki Taffeta and Net Evening Dress - work in progress


i love this dress!

initially i wasn't sure how the design would turn out with khaki coloured taffeta and matching soft net. would it look too casual?

but i needn't have worried.
it looks sooooooooooo classy.

now i just need to finish the sleeves and hem.
and iron the dress!



style & sewing notes:

1. dress is fully underlined and lined

2. i used a double layer of net

3. i seldom like to include darts on a dress unless it is part of the design. so i have used a princess cut, although an alternative would be to transfer the bust dart to the armhole and the waist dart to the sides. but the princess line does a good job of bust & waist shaping and the two visible seams are slimming.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Style & Fashion

Never in the history of fashion has so little material been raised so high to reveal so much that needs to be covered so badly.
Cecil Beaton, famouns fashion photographer

Fashion is architecture: it is a matter of proportions.
Coco Chanel, Fashion Designer

Style is an expression of individualism mixed with charisma.
Fashion is something that comes after style.
John Fairchild, publisher of Women's Wear Daily (1960)

The difference between style and fashion is quality.
Giogio Armani, Fashion Designer

Fashions fade, style is eternal.
Yves Saint Laurent, Fashion Designer

and finally..........

A little bad taste is like a nice dash of paprika.
Dorothy Parker, Writer & Poet

Trend Summary - 80's Disco Revival

images from style.com
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ah, La Valbonne.
Kingly Street, WC1, London,
dancing to the beat of Thriller, Billie Jean and Beat It.
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if you've got the legs for it, versace's body-skimming neon turquoise with midriff laddered cutouts is simply stunning.
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extended shoulders from marc jacobs and vivienne westwood hide a multitude of sins (flabby arms) and balances narrow shoulders/big hips.
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these are my favorites from the 80's revival.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Gilbert Adrian and Old Hollywood Glamour


Adrian was a famous costume designer for MGM studios during the 30's and 40's. Born Adrian Adolph Greenburg, he was also known as Gilbert Adrian or simply Adrian.

He designed costumes for over 250 films including Judy Garland's costumes in The Wizard of Oz, Greta Garbo's Matahari and the extravagant creations for Marie Antoinette.

He worked with MGM's glamour queens of the day, including Joan Crawford, Jean Harlow, Norma Shearer, Katherine Hepburn and Greta Garbo.

He kicked off a trend with Joan Crawford's broad shouldered, waisted signature look, but Adrian was most famous for his glamourous gowns shown in films like The Women (MGM 1939)


image from the Metropolitan Museum
http://www.metmuseum.org/special/American_Glamour/5.r.htm

Trend Summary - 1940's Glamour

images from style.com

The 1940's makes an elegant entrance this season.

Designers showed impeccably cut, fitted suits with defined shoulders for the day, and re-captured Old Hollywood glamour for the evenings: think of Greta Garbo, Joan Crawford, Katherine Hepburn, and Gilbert Adrian gowns.

Free Accessories Patterns (from Wild Ginger)

You're gonna love this.

Wild Ginger (the pattern-making software co.) is giving away a copy of their accessories software.

i downloaded a copy and there are loads of patterns for all sorts of bags and hats, wraps including poncho, tunic, cape; belts and even flip-flops which you can customise and print.
i've got some left-over yellow taffeta and black lace. can't wait to try making a clutch bag.

here's the link. click on "free wild things" to get the download:
http://www.wildginger.com/Downloads/default.htm

Trend Summary - The Boudoir Look

Corsets, lace and floaty chiffons defines this look. The bust and waist is defined.
One difference this season is the new emphasis on the midriff.

Botega Veneta did a daywear interpretation of this look......very wearable.
At D&G, the look was renaissance-inspired street style.
John Galliano never fails to inspire and this season, he combines pastel brights with glorious full skirts.

images from style.com

Trend Summary - Biker Chic

Images from style.com

One of the key trends this season is the Biker look which is all about leather, metal zips and studs.
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Fortunately, we don't have to look like Hell's Angels (unless you want to).
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Use the metal discreetly, translate the designs into soft leather, wool and even satin, add surprises like a faux fur collar, choose white, taupe and other colours as an alternative to black. Pair your jacket with skinny pants, a flirty wool skirt or a structural evening dress and you wind up with some elegant and wearable looks.
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Here are 4 of my favorites.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Day to Evening Dress with front zip - work in progress


The dress has a belt of the same fabric which i still have to make.

Looks just as nice with or without the belt. It can be fully zipped up for a turtle neck look or worn as in the photo.

Taffeta gives the dress a dressy look and the princess cut is great for shaping and slimming. Since the fabric has a nice sheen but is not shiny (like satin), the dress is great for day to evening.

Wear it to work with a tucked in scarf.
Replace the scarf with a nice choker & some bling, and you're ready for a dinner date!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Fall Winter 2009 Trend Summary - Style Directions

images from style.com

Biker Chic is back so be prepared to see biker jackets in leather, satin, wool and even faux fur, with metallic jacket zips and metal studs. Paired with skinny pants, jeans and short short skirts. Black is a favorite colour for this look (no surprises here) though Alexander Wang did his biker jacket in white and Jean-Charles de Castelbajac went red. I like Haider Ackermann's idea of pairing a biker jacket with a long satin dress.

The Boudoir look continues to be popular. For this season, floaty chiffons, corsets and lacey bralets defines the look, and quite a number of designers showed the midriff.

Being a vintage fan, I am delighted the 40's look is back. Well cut suits with shoulder emphasis defines this look. For the evening, think Joan Crawford, Ava Gardner and the other Hollywood glamour queens.

The 80's look continues into fall winter 2009/2010, with emphasis on the shoulders and short figure hugging short dresses. Versace's version was turquoise with cutouts around the midriff (see the pic).

The Grecian theme continues to be popular with designers. Drapes and ruches were featured in practically all collections. Tuleh and Vera Wang combined the draping with floral features.

As can be expected, in an economic downturn, some designers went back to basics with camel coats, pin stripes, tweeds, double breasted jackets, burberry-inspired trenches & chanel-inspired suits in neutral colours.

Go to http://www.style.com/ for the full trend report.

Fall Winter 2009 Trend Summary - Colour Directions

It's already August.
Time to start preparing our wardrobes for Fall Winter 2009!

Of course the established designers would have done all that ages ago, shown their collections to media applause or public derision (it's a job risk, baby!) way back in February/March, and are now preparing to roll out their ready-to-wear's to the high street.

Pre-fashion design course, I used to think each designer racks their brains for ideas and when the bulb lights up on top of their heads, they put paint to paper and voila! a new collection is born.

No such thing!

The fashion industry is more organised than that.
Just like the rest of us, they depend on trend reports too, from trend and colour analysts who analyse the market/consumer direction. From there, style and colour directions are determined.

Here are the colours for Fall Winter 2009/2010. You can get download the full colour report from the pantone website:

http://www.pantone.com/pages/Pantone/Pantone.aspx?pg=20644&ca=4

Fashion History - Vionnet and the Bias Cut

Indisputedly one of the most influential designers of the 20th Century, Madeleine Vionnet considered herself a technician first.

She opened the house of Vionnet in Paris in 1912, and invented the Bias Cut in 1927. This changed fashion silhouettes in the 1930's.

Her draped dresses and gowns were inspired by the simple and fluid styles of classical greek clothing, and worn by stars like Marlene Dietrich, Greta Garbo and society elite like the Duchess of Windsor.

Vionnet developed her designs by draping fabric on minature dolls before translating the completed designs onto life-sized models. She also introduced the use of fabrics like crepe de chine and satin for women's clothing.



image from http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/20sil/ho_C.I.52.18.4.htm

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Julie's Bustier & Mermaid Skirt - work in progress

This grey satin bustier & mermaid skirt is part of a set which includes a pink & gold lace kebaya top.

this is a really versatile combination as all the pieces can be mixed and matched with other items. the bustier & skirt worn with or without a sash would make a lovely evening outfit.

1st fitting has been done for the bustier & skirt.

the fitting went well, but i do need to make 2 changes:

1. with the bustier, some ladies get the "slipping" feeling at the sides. you can tell if they pull up the sides during fitting. sometimes they ask for the top of the bustier to be made tighter. if the fit is right, it's a support issue. so i'm going to add some boning to the side seams and that feeling should go away.

2. the other things that needs fixing are the facings at the tops of the bustier and skirt, which are too soft. so i'm going to replace those with a stiffer interfacing which would hold the shape better.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Free pattern for a 1950's dress (from the V&A)


Besides being a treasure trove of information on fashion history, there are some fantastic photos and gems like this dress on the V&A's website.

here's a link to get the free pattern for this dress. you can even post a video of your completed dress on the site. Have fun!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Beading on Lace

I had planned to make a draped gown. The top layer would be olive green beaded lace against satin of the same colour.

Good quality beaded lace is Expensive with a capital E.
You'll be lucky to find anything under rm200 per metre in KL and it can go up to rm2000 for the imported designer stuff.
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So I decided to buy some plain lace (at a fraction of the cost) and do the beading myself.

I used 3 colours of glass beads (gold, dark copper and light yellow-green) with light mint green sequins to add shine.

This is the test swatch. The original lace is on the right.
Wow, what a difference!

Fashion History - The New Look

image from http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/dior/hd_dior.htm
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In 1947, a new designer, Christian Dior, introduced his New Look. Women embraced this new feminine silhouette after the years of war, shortages and restrictions. Hollywood stars and prominent European figures became instant clients. In 1949, the New Look line alone netted a profit of FFr 12.7 million.
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The New Look emphasised the female figure with soft, sloped shoulders, defined busts and waists, and full skirts. In some of his gowns, Dior used up to 20 yards of fabric.
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In his latest collection for Fall/Winter 2009, Galliano looks back to the New Look for inspiration.

Fashion Dictionary: Haute Couture

John Galliano for Christian Dior with 2 of his creations
image from style.com Fall 2009 Couture

We tend to associate the terms couture or haute couture with high fashion. Actually there are very specific criteria for determining what is or is not haute couture, the main ones beings:

1. only garments produced by a member of the Chambre syndicale de la haute couture can be referred to as haute couture.
2. the garment must be made for a specific client with at least 2 fittings
3. the couture house must keep a workshop in Paris that maintains at least 15 people full-time, and
4. must present a collection during the 2 annual fashion weeks with at least 35 runs/exits incorporating both day and evening wear.

Some of the well-known members of the Chambre syndicale de la haute couture are Christian Dior, Givenchy, Chanel and John-Paul Gaultier. For fall/winter 2009/2010, Elie Saab is a correspondent (foreign) member, Boudicca is a guest member and Loulou De La Farlaise is on the list in the accessories category.

Needless to say, the customer base for haute couture is limited and most of the couture houses leverage on their couture status with a pret-a-porter (ready to wear) range which reaches a wider audience and brings in more profits.

Casual Capsule Collection

this is my new casual capsule for fall/winter 2009/2010.
hopefully i'll finish it before the end of winter.

i have been living off the same 2 pairs of jeans and over-sized t-shirts since losing about 15lbs. this is what i tell everyone, just in case they are wondering why a design student is dressed so shabbily.

actually, no one cares i've got no clothes to wear. all they want to know is: how did i lose all that weight? *sigh*

anyway, here's my formula:

1. go vegetarian. especially if you hate vegetables. that way, you are never in danger of over-eating
2. keep off the carbo.......resist, resist, resist. biscuits, cakes, crisps etc
3. no fats.......no fried food, no cream cakes, ice-cream etc. use low fat milk.
4. eat only during the 3 meals. in my case, i skipped breakfast which is NOT a good thing at all! that's because i can't wake up in time to get ready AND eat.
btw, some experts say it's better to eat smaller portions 5 times a day.
5. go walking, preferably where the landscape undulates wildly. great for a good sweat.
6. stop eating after 9pm.

one last word: i still have the dreaded jelly-belly.
the only thing that works for that (i've been told) is the equally dreaded crunches and it takes at least 3 months to see the slightest improvement.

i've decided it's easier to hide it.
so the capsule consists of baggy drawstring pants, drawstring skirt, a dress and overshirts that skimp past the waist and tum.

i think i'll use a linen/silk combination, which would be nice and cool in this hot, humid climate.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Designs for Pow


#1 black lace and mid-grey satin. a black satin sash defines the waist.
#2 would look nice in chiffon for a floaty look or organza for a more structured look. bodice is ruched. fabric flowers add interest to the skirt
#3 black lace against a contrasting colour in satin
#4 satin would be nice for this draped design. centre panel is made of coloured stones wrapped in black net
#5 black lace against contrasting colour in tafetta

Monday, August 10, 2009

Fashion History - the BIBA sensation

image from www.flickr.com. contributed by ekittiekat

no one can get past the 60's without mentioning BIBA.
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Barbara Hulanicki started BIBA as a budget mail order business. It's main appeal was that it brought affordable versions of high-fashion to the average woman on the street.
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The first BIBA store opened in 1964 and was an instant hit. From there the company expanded into children's wear, men's wear, cosmetics, perfume and even home furnishings. In 1974, BIBA moved to a 7 storey building in Kensington High Street and incorporated a food hall, book store and a logo shop selling various mechandise with the BIBA logo, but financial troubles forced its closure a year later.
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The BIBA look is of skinny round-eyed fresh-faced girls in mini-smocks of blended autumnal berry colours.....plums, blueberries, rust.


Sunday, August 9, 2009

Fashion History - The Mondrian Dress

this is of the same era as the mini-skirt. It was designed by Yves Saint Laurent in 1965 and named for artist Piet Mondrian, master of geometric abstraction. it actually looks like one of his paintings transcribed onto a dress.

Probably one of the earliest examples of colour-blocking in modern fashion.

click on the link to the met museum to read more about it.
image from:
www.metmuseum.org/toah/ho/11/euwf/ho_C.I.69.23.htm

Red Taffeta Gown - Work in Progress

this red taffeta gown has been put on hold while i cleared the backlog, and completed orders for 2 big occasions.

red is a standout colour and photographs well.
i've kept the design simple with the focus on the pleated upper bodice.

there is a knack to doing the pleating otherwise it just looks amateur and too "done". first thing is to make the pleats deep enough to hold the shape. then work quickly and rhythmically to get the pleats even. a few hand stitches here and there will be sufficient to hold the shape without looking stiff.

the mermaid skirt gives a nice curvaceous shape to the body.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Fashion History - The Mini-Skirt


image contributed by ali fenster at http://www.photobucket.com/

Twiggy is the face of the mod look, with her large owl eyes, long lashes, little girl innocence and of course her short, short, short skirts.

Mary Quant designed the mini in 1965 and sold her designs from her shop in fashionable Kings Road in Chelsea, London. Practically every designer of that decade picked up on the trend, with Courreges introducing a space-age version worn with "Courreges boots".

Incidently, that hair-do in a short geometric cut (by Leonard) was revolutionary.

Friday, August 7, 2009

A Design Project. Yippee!

Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties.
Erich Fromm


at design class today, we were asked to research possible themes for a collection.
we are progressing at good speed and it's only my 2nd class!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Fashion History - The Little Black Dress

image contributed by illesdori. http://www.photobucket.com/
Every woman has at least one little black dress in her wardrobe.
It all started with this dress worn by Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's (Paramount, 1961) and designed by Hubert de Givenchy.

In 2006, the dress was sold for $1 million at auction.

Proceeds were given to the City of Joy Aid charity which helps underprivileged children in India. Hepburn dedicated her later years to helping children in improverished countries.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Ruched Taffeta Gown

This is really glam and got some rave reviews after it was worn.

it was made for a friend who wanted a gown that could be converted to a short evening dress later.

deep indigo blue turned out to be the perfect colour for this strapless ruched taffeta gown with flared skirt.

a vertical row of white and purple-blue stones in front adds focus and sparkle against the subtle sheen of the taffeta. and it has a wonderful slimming effect too!

two layers of netting keeps the shape of the gathered flared skirt.

remove the skirt and voila! a glamourous short ruched party dress!

Design Class at SML

Learning is not attained by chance, it must be sought for with ardor and attended to with diligence.
Abigail Adams (1744 - 1818)
wife of US President John Adams 1764

i joined the other new students, some complete newbies to fashion illustration and design. i don't really consider myself a newbie. i did fashion illustration at IFTC. since the design course includes illustration, i thought it would be a nice refresher. as it turned out, i learnt a new great technique.

jasmi started us off with drawing the female figure using the ellipse to form various parts of the body then joining them together to make a figure. even the complete beginners ended up with nice figures. and this is just the first class!

we were told to practise, practise, practise and each of us will have to show 5 pages of practise by the next class.

at the afternoon drafting class, mdm took me through the steps to do the full bodice draft the bunka way and after i completed a draft successfully (no mistakes. hurray!), i was given an exercise to draft 6 different bodice designs. i completed 4 by the end of the class. 2 more will be for homework.

a wonderful thing i discovered about SML: you can buy drafting paper from them at 30 cents a sheet which is a great price!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Halter Neck Designs for Anna

Variations on the halter neck.

#1 is a classic and can be worn under a jacket for a quick day to evening switch, if we use buttons instead of ties
#2 has a draped wrap dress effect. also good for day to evening switch with a peplum jacket
#3 is dressy with ruched top and flared skirt. will be nice in a flowing, floaty fabric like chiffon. can be made as separates for versatility.
#4 would look good at informal or semi-formal settings. dress up or down with accessories.
#5 is a simple draped design that brings out the curves in a bias cut.
#6 a more daring variation that would look good under a jacket for day.

First Day at SML

Don't just learn the tricks of the trade. Learn the trade.
unknown author


I like SML already. Mdm. Tan is truly dedicated to making sure the students understand the lessons. And even better, i discovered she graduated from Bunka, the same school as yohji yamamoto and junya watanabe!

Today we went through the basic bodice and sleeve drafts using the Bunka method. Mdm demonstrated how to measure the customer. There were more measurements than i was used to: a total of 19 different measurements.

practically no part of the body was left unmeasured!
(ok, maybe just the ankles).

that's the japs for you. very meticulous and precise.

Next, she demonstrated how to do the drafts with detailed explanations. I took down notes furiously, there was so much to learn. after the demo, i had to do the drafting on my own. After mdm had marked the drafts, the final exercise was to do scale drawings for my file. This too, had to be checked by mdm. All too soon, 5:30pm came around and it was time to leave.

Tomorrow, is my first design class. since I started late, I'll have some catching up to do.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Black Lace and Bronze Satin - Work in Progress

The lace is really lovely. Black beads and sequins against floral embroidery on black net.

As it is quite a distinctive fabric, i used it only on the bodice, over a dark bronze satin which brings out the lace pattern.

The skirt is black satin. Asymmetric draping adds interest and continues the feminine look.

Baju Kurung

Spent most of the weekend completing this beaded lace baju kurung with matching olive green taffeta skirt.

Instead of the traditional kurung skirt, the skirt is in the kebaya style.

The lace is really lovely: muted gold embroidered florals with olive green, mid and deep grape coloured beads, offset with translucent sequins, giving the kurung a subtle glitter.

Intricate lace edging at the hem and sleeves gives a finished look to the outfit. The skirt is kept plain to complement and keep the focus on the decadent kurung top.

The original plan was to have a beaded edge at the collar but there was no time to get the beading done. It will look just as lovely worn with a large brooch centered on the collar.

Perfect for a special occasion.