F-I Fashion Week: Vogue 9/07

This wasn’t the post I intended to do first but I’m running short on time today and this one was closest to posting. Here are the pages I ripped out of my copy of the September issue of Vogue. Again, I didn’t select things that I necessary like personally. I don’t know that I’d wear any but a few of them, even if they were given to me. Although I covet none of them, each item had compelling interest.

Below is a skirt from Hugo Boss. I like atypical pleating. I’m guessing this was done with mechanized pleating. In the old days, you needed a hand made form or pattern to pleat the goods. I’ve made them, they’re a lot of work; all math and precision because it’s two layers, each different with folds varying depending on whether it was the top or underside. I’ve played with a lot of methods, once using harp strings set into a form; another time, using a metal brake to set creases. Nearly all methods were abysmal failures. I did come up with one method, hand made but readily doable for a high end line of goods you can do in-house at lower cost than jobbing out custom patterns (assuming you could find someone to make them). I’ll explain how to do it on the new subscription site.

I picked this skirt (Jones New York) because of the grain matching. I’ll bet you’re thinking that all they did was throw a match stripe bias grainline on each piece and call it good. Most likely not. The center front and backs most likely were. The side fronts and side backs however, are cut to match the grains of their companion pieces at the given angle of the skirt line, so it is doubtful those pieces are on true bias.

The piece below you most likely can’t see the front style lines (atypical as well). It gets lost in the fabric pattern. The line going over the armhole looks kind of thick and clunky. Maybe that’s the look they were going for but I would’ve given it a good pressing. After I’d taken my sewing hammer to it of course.

I liked the piecing of this plaid top. Wish I’d had a better view of it though. I don’t know who made this or the one above. People, make sure your label is on every page of your advertising. Aid and abet people like me who rip pages out of magazines.

The next two are jewel tones from Elie Tahari. I like a designer who uses a plain fabric and dresses it up with unique pattern styling. That’s a lot harder than dressing something up with a cute print. For most stuff we wear, cute prints are great. In bridge or designer lines, you’ll need more than a pretty print to make a name for yourself.

Below is a dress (Prada) I think is horribly ugly. Thank me for cropping the worst of it out. Still, it’s noteworthy because it’s an example of Cloque or lye shrinking. I’ve done a bit of that too courtesy of Drano (now you’ll know why my ex-husband thought I was out of my tree). With lye shrinking, you can (using resists) tighten up weaves or create patterns in surface design. Obviously, lye was used liberally on the bottom of this skirt to draw it up. A resist was used higher up to create the rolls and folds you see.

I like the ruching effect as illustrated in the Yves St.Laurent below (Stefano Pilati) below and ponder ways to use the effect on a more limited basis. Not limited due to cost but because I think all over ruching adds too many pounds to the average figure.

The blouse below is from Gianfranco Ferré. The sleeve is heavily embellished and not that I particularly like this design but I do think that sleeves are a much neglected canvas for design elements. It’s wasted real estate. I wish designers would make more interesting sleeves. I certainly intend to.

I picked out the top (Lord & Taylor ad) below because of the cartridge pleating. You don’t see the effect often. It’s nice to see this on something besides judges robes.The trick is to integrate the it neatly.

Below is a sample of trapunto stitching courtesy of Etro. ~sigh~ why can’t I find clients who want me to do things like this for them?

[soapbox on] By now you should see that I’m rather partial to labor intensive surface design and difficult cuts. I only wish I could get people to hire me to teach them how to do these things more cost effectively, but I’m the last person any of these artists would consider hiring. They see me as the progenitor of mass produced schlock.:::eye roll::: I am continually surprised at how close-minded, supposedly open-minded artistic people can be. [soapbox off]

The white blouse (Lord & Taylor ad) below is interesting because it’s got a tie, a twisty and some billowy stuff going on in the neckline. Yep, that’s official apparel industry terminology, twisty, billowy stuff. The picture I have is too small to discern all the detail I’d prefer so I know you’ll see even less. Sorry.

The silver dress (Dolce & Gabbana) below I’m liking less but I picked it for the unique seam lines.

I think the dress below is Calvin Klein. The neckline is interesting. There’s a stay, a retainer resting against the chest wall but I don’t think you can see that readily.

I just like capes and cloaks (not ponchos) with a lot of drama. I keep hoping they’ll come back in style. I like long full flowing cloaks with allocation so high it’d make me feel guilty.

The dress (Dior) below is certainly dramatic, a lovely cut and tricky embellishment. I don’t know how they made this but done correctly, you could cut it, embellish it and then sew it up. That’d be most cost effective and ensure greater reproduceability across units.

Anyway, hope you found this interesting. If not, you only have yourselves to blame for encouraging me. There’s a reason I don’t have a pink pony product fashion blog.

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  1. Lisa Bloodgood says:

    Might I point out 3 other pages? I just finished looking thru it the other day and, in addition to the above, these were pretty neat for the same reasons.

    Page 422, “Talking Fashion,” “Pure Whimsy” (right next to the bright Camel ad), on the bottom of the page, Cate Blanchett is wearing an interesting white dress and Lisa Airan is wearing a fluffy white top with 2 bows.

    In the back, in the “Paris, je t’aime” section, the left hand page with the lady in the gold Gucci dress. The dress has weird pleats and gathers.

    Further in the back, in the “Shift into Neutral” section, the right hand page with the lady in the tan hat and the croc bag. Look at the sleeve of her sweater.

    I agree with too many sleeves being way boring. Just my 2 cents worth. :-)

  2. Karen C says:

    Thank you for picking the Calvin Klein dresses. I saw those a couple of issues ago, and was telling Zoe about them, then showed them to my patternmaker to see if she could figure out how the neckline was done. Kick me for not thinking of hiring you to do some of my complicated design patterns. Personal email to follow.

  3. Kathleen says:

    Might I point out 3 other pages?

    I don’t have mine anymore. Not intact anyway. I should have mentioned how I go through domestic consumer pulp fashion magazines. First, I leaf through it, pulling out all the card inserts. Leaf again to rip out the thick card stock pages. Naturally, the perfumey pages are 86’d. Now prepared, I rip off the cover…and each subsequent page I come to, sorting. Most go in the trash (we don’t recycle this kind of paper locally). I save the pages I like but the rest of it is dispensed with immediately. So Lisa, you’ll have to scan those!

  4. Oxanna says:

    Love all the unique designs and seamlines. Seems to me that vintage clothing seems to have much more in the way of interesting details than modern clothing. (With the notable exception of bridge & designer lines – but those are out of my budget!)

    And yes, I am in favor of returning cloaks to fashion. Nearly every culture I know of had *some* version of a cloak/cape/mantle from the beginning of history. Unfortunately, the graceful cloak/cape started waning sometime last century. I think it relates to the shortening of hemlines. The shorter the hemline, the more ridiculous it looks with a huge, long piece of flowing fabric. Hence capelets. In theory, I’d say that people today are more active and don’t want to be bothered with all that fabric, but we aren’t particularly more active today than a century ago. No, it’s just lots of fabric – rather like petticoats, which were standard wear once upon a time. Rimshot: Trend inspiration from sunnier climes also might be responsible for some cloak loss. :)

    A cape/cloak worn right, from the Sartorialist (second down):

    But see how she pairs it with a long and historically inspired outfit. There’s *volume* to the whole thing, vs. sleek.

    Sorry, you got me started on a favorite garment. :)

  5. Connie says:


    The armhole on the grey dress you’d take your hammer and iron to, looks to me like the armhole on the Calvin Klein dress with the low neckline, no?

    The interesting lines on the same dress are regularly featured in Burda WOF Patterns.

    The pleated skirt reminds me of my wedding gown. It had bishop sleeves with pleating as well. We bought it in Montreal which,coming from Ottawa, was considered as close to Parisian fashion as we were ever going to get.

  6. I do wish you were working/lived nearer to us!! I love the (subtly) complex to create a question in the cut, why do the obvious ….it is easier I suppose, & in this day & age time is money. We need a fabulously skilled pattern cutter to help us do our origami!!!!

  7. Lisa NYC says:

    ooooh the pleating…absolutely love it!

    IMHO Tahari just ROCKS! Notice the little ruffle/underskirt peeking out of the pink number.

    and the Trapuno…that one is tasteful. Usually whenever I see Trapuno it is overdone.

    With friendship,

  8. Sandra B says:

    The gold ruched dress brings to mind a jacket I used to own, by a locally based Japanese designer. It was a fairly standard tailored jacket from the waist up, and all elasticated ruching from the waist to hip. It was stunning. Unfortunately, I am pear-shaped, so the effect was rather, well, unflattering.

  9. Amy says:

    I read your fascinating blog every day and am always dazzled by your imagination, curiosity and expertise. As mostly a beg/intermediate sewist (hate seeing “sewer” in print!), your advanced conversation and terminology is often over my head. I often wonder how designers manipulate fabric to create these special effects. Thank you for the insight on the above.

    You made it clear yesterday fashion reviews like this are out of the ordinary for you, but I hope you’ll reconsider and include columns like this more often. I’d even love to see a branch website where you (and others) discuss detailed how to’s for thirsty minds, mostly self-taught, struggling via at-home trial and flop.

  10. Jennifer E. says:

    Kathleen I agree with all your comments. I love texturing fabric and great design details. I even played around with wool for awhile trying to get it chemically fix into pleats etc… disaster but fun.
    Also thought I should share one my favorite books that give me inspiration the Art of Manipulating Fabric by Colette Wolfe – its all sewing techniques: pleating, pin tucks, gathersetc

  11. Yahzi Rose says:

    Love the details on these Kathleen, thanks. I must admit I go thru almost the same process with my magazines except that I can’t bear to throw them away (drives my husband crazy). I keep saying one day I’ll take them to the tailors in Africa or donate them to schools/hospitals/etc.

    I also like cloaks/capes/etc for little girls. Just what is the ‘official’ difference between a cape, cloak and poncho? people often use them interchangeably.

  12. vespabelle says:

    ooh capes. I have three 1970s cape patterns that I’ve been eyeing lately. But i wonder if they’d work for my lifestyle. They seem more formal than I usually dress.

    The cartridge pleats are really neat. A few months ago, I saw in W a designer dress that had smocking on the side that was gorgeous. Smocking is a design detail you don’t see much of!

  13. ashley says:

    I just picked up the latest issue of Surface. It’s their Fall Fashion issue. The cover is an interesting origami piece (art to wear for sure, unless you were really angry at someone and wanted to poke their eye out). Lots of cool eye candy in there and inspiration. A definite ‘modern’ vibe: very, very few prints, lots and lots of texture, plenty of tone-on-tone. And Kathleen: there are a number of pretty interesting sleeves in there, too. It’s worth flipping through at your local giant chain bookstore (or library if you’re that lucky).
    [It is interesting to me that the pictures definitely are about the *clothes* in this mag. In the popular fashion mags (Vogue, etc) it’s often hard to really see the clothes! The photos seem to be more about the model or the photographer. It’s not really my world, so I have a hard time understanding that point of view.]

  14. Lisa Bloodgood says:

    Re: the difference between capes, cloaks, and ponchos, since nobody else answered.

    Ponchos typically are a piece of fabric with a hole in the middle that you pull over your head to wear. They can be a square or rectangular piece of fabric or round.

    Capes and cloaks I think are pretty much the same thing. (I’ve never seen a distinction, except possibly in length.) They differ from ponchos in that they open down the center front. They are cut to accommodate the neck, like the poncho, and they can have a hood or a collar. They are usually a full circle or a part of a circle or cut so they take less fabric and are more fitted around the shoulders. They can also have slits to put your hands through so the CF can stay closed to keep you warm. Mostly from the 19th Century onwards, capes/cloaks were knee length or shorter; 16th to 19th C. both that length and longer; mostly in the Middle Ages they were long, sometimes dragging on the floor.

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