This post brings together two passions of mine, fashion and fibre. My love of texture and colour began by creating clothes. Then I discovered an enlarged canvas with quilts and my passion modified. Now my world has a new window. I am seeing how I can combine my love of creating clothes with many of the techniques and embellishments that I use in my quilting. I’m not an early adopter. We are seeing that trend in many places.
At least one designer Kees van den Aker has been combining layering and quilting techniques for a while. I have tried a couple of his Vogue patterns and with mixed results. He combines colour and texture, my reason for working in fibre. His clothes are definitely collage.
We travelled to his boutique: Koos & Co in New York. It was tiny and delightful. I tried on several items to get a sense of what the shapes looked like on me. More attention was paid to the fabric combinations. One that resonated with me was a jacket that of cotton plaid on one side and the other was a heavy lace. The cotton plaid was slashed to show the lace on the other side.
Other designers are joining the quilted, collage, embellished trend. Most of these clothes are not for the faint of heart. Neither are the designs like the original quilted garments that were stiff and often looked like the wearer was a bulls eye target. To be successful in adventuring down this road it takes a good eye for design and use of colour. When I look at the garments I am reminded of Miss Piggy saying “more is more”. That is definitely the case and at the same time sometimes more can be overwhelming.
When I look at a piece I try to analyze what works and why. For example In the February Vogue I saw a beautiful long coat that was a simple patchwork. The unit was a parallelogram and the piecing followed the long lines of the coat. I read it as a split complementary colorway with a riot of prints of similar value. There is sone variation of scale but mainly they are medium in size and work together as a whole. It would take a certain joie de vie to carry if off but fun. It is a Prada design. I welcome some feedback on my analysis.
If you want to try either a garment collage or a fabric collage New York is the place to get the supplies. Ovewhelming variety! That is the best way I can describe what we found in the New York Fashion District. Some cotton plaid perhaps for an attempt on a Koos design came from a shop called Mood Fabrics. Just to get their e-ads provides inspiration each time they come into my inbox. Often the fabrics are the last bolt of a designer’r run and unique. As you can see from the slide above there is bolt after bolt. I am not often overwhelmed but I hardly knew where to begin. Fortunately I went in with a list. I didn’t find everything on my list but did come home with a couple of things.
Also in the fashion district we found several shops with ribbon, button and other embellishments. Because I couldn’t figure out where to start it was easy not to get carried away. I did however bring home some ribbon from Mokuba. It was a unique shop, just ribbon, thousands and thousands of rolls.
As we were in New York during Fashion Week in February it was a treat to see the garment racks being pushed along the street. Thngs I had only seen on TV or the internet previously. We were close to the Fashion Institute of Technology so made the trek to their Museum. We saw an exhibit of Yves Saint Laurent and Halston. I enjoyed seeing the “70’s clothing. Some of the influences can be seen in current fashion, other pieces seemed dated and still others are timeless. We also saw an exhibition entitled “Faking It”, comparing originals, copies and counterfeits. It used to be that new collections were closely guarded secrets so that knock-off’s couldn’t be on the street before the new collection could be unveiled. Originals were sold in order to create listened copies. Designers also used the originals to create their own licences copies to get their designs to more mass markets. Today there are people who see the designs somewhat after the fact and “interpret the designs” for a particular market. Still others just copy the designs. I have seen this in handbags. Of course they are no where near the quality of the originals or the licensed copies but they are out there and popular.
To live in New York, conceive of a design either for a quilt or a garment and then go shopping would be a dream come true.