Once Upon a Coat

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My first conscious passion in life was clothing.  How I came to this I don’t know because as a child my clothing was very limited.  I first remember making outfits for paper dolls that appeared in a weekly newspaper.  Magazines weren’t part of my life then so imagination served.  Now I have many other stimulus for my love of clothing and it includes texture, colour and shape.

Next month one of my goals is to come to fruition.  I am going to New York.  This has been a desire for about 40 years now and at last everything has come together.  In order to go I feel that I have to have just the right coat as that is what I will wear everyday for the week that I am there.  February in New York will be warmer than Edmonton likely but if is still winter.  So what will see me through the day?  Walking, riding a ferry, museums, Central Park, Lincoln Centre, 5th Avenue, Tiffany’s, FIT. Are you starting to see the task?

Yes I have gone through my stash of fabric and searched the internet for current looks that might meet the need.  Warm, light, good for rain or snow, will cut the wind and go into any place and be at home.  So after much searching and thinking and looking and drawing I came up with a design that will work with a piece of fabric I have.  Only problem to be solved, an interesting lining and some buttons.  It seems that there isn’t a store in Canada that really meets my needs anymore for good quality interesting fabric.  No matter; Britex in San Francisco will no doubt rise to the occasion.  Only one thing left to do and that is find the time to make a coat.  Turns out time is likely not going to allow.

Next stop – closet.  Everything obvious is rejected.  A conversation with my sister brings to mind a carmel coloured coat that is rarely every worn and that came to me from a friend many years ago.  Digging unearths the coat in the pictures above.  It is light, has a light quilted lining so warm, made of tightly woven cotton so it will repel water somewhat.  It is too long for the uses I want to put it to but will shorten without ruining the proportions of the design.  Low and behold it is a Giorgio Armani Le Collezioni.

I have a favourite designer and he is Giorgio Armani.  His lean architectural designs with clean lines that are timeless really appeal to me.  I often turn to his designs for my own clothing designs. I know that I can feel comfortable in this coat.

The coat is classic and timeless except the collar seems a bit dated.  I can fix that with a scarf.  However now I am curious about how old the coat might be.  Thank goodness for the internet and wonderful search engines.  I wish I had access to a clothing database but Google will serve.  So I start searching.

First I find that the label Le Collezioni is one step below the made to measure haute couture of the designer.  That confirms what I can see in the quality of the fabric and construction.  I now find that in the 1970’s Armani began to work with an Italian company named Gruppo Gft formed in 1887 to turn his designs into ready to wear.  They met his requirements for quality of construction.  He worked with them until 1994 when they were sold.   So I deduce that my coat was made sometime between those dates.  They did start manufacturing in both the USA and Canada later.   I didn’t pursue that avenue as both labels in the coat say “Made in Italy”.  Armani began designing women’s wear in 1975.  So I can narrow the coat to between 1975 and 1994.  When I look at other history of fashion designs I deduce that the coat was likely purchased by the Aunt of my friend in Italy in the 1980’s.

I had fun researching this and learned some new things about my favourite designer.  Now to get the courage to shorten an Armani coat.




About Elinor Burwash Designs

I am a fibre artist, teach quilting and am a quilt judge.
This entry was posted in Clothing, Design, goals, Textiles and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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