September 1, 2011 § 3 Comments
I have to admit that I am feeling a great amount of ambivalence right alongside disappointment today. I have spent the first half of the week auditing classes, figuring out how I want to fill some of my time with learning. I have concluded to stay enrolled in 3 classes, the first is hand sewing techniques (embroidery, beading, etc), the second is a Fabric Science Class and the third and final is a pattern grading (both by hand and through gerber systems) class. Remaining on the roster until, literally, 3 minutes ago was the History of Fashion class, but I just pressed the drop button, away it went, and now my money is being returned to me, sometime in the next 7–10 business days (even though it only takes 10 minutes to give it to you…). Now, still in possession of my history book, which I purchased on Amazon in June for $50, do I sell it again? I can likely get about $100 for it …
Why do I feel ambivalent? Ramon and I took a good hard look at the Fashion Department curriculum and reviewed what it would really take for me to get a second degree, which I don’t really need. Even with all of my transferred credits I’d still need to take about 80 more units in order to fulfill the Associates Degree requirements, and with everything in my life I am just not sure this coincides with my overall goals. Yes, it be nice, but I’d really need to be going full time for a few years, and doing nothing else. That’s just not really in the cards. I tend to bite off a little more than I can chew, but surely anyone has ever noticed, that though! Part of me didn’t want to drop the History of Fashion class, even though I know it is the right thing to do. In my mind I have plenty of time to do it all, but I know that 6 weeks from now I’d be regretting it, as it would be taking away valuable time from other endeavors. So, I did the right thing, right … right? Ugh, yes. I wish that these decisions were more cut and dry for me, but they’re just not always that way.
Another class I decided not to take was a class focused around creative garment design, though upon going to the first class I learned that this class is primarily developing of what I call Mood Boards, and then designing garment “collections” in sketch-form only from your inspirations in the mood-boards. Given that I have taught a class like this at the Academy of Art, even though the “collections” designed were logos and visual branding, I just can’t see myself super excited about spending 12 hours a week on homework doing something that may not be helping me to get ahead as much as some other topic. The hard part is that if the teacher doesn’t have 20 students then she must teach the class as Directed Study (Independed Study) versus 2 times a week in a classroom environment. Well, guess what number I was. Yep, 20. So, there is some guilt and disappointment there, but at the same time, I can’t go to a class for 16 weeks to make other people happy.
Though, often when I start taking a class, or classes, I quickly notice a common thread running through my life and some special piece of content. What I have noticed this week is structure. Last week I happened to catch a show that has been a long time running, though I’d never previously experienced it. It’s a little show called, SuperNanny. This has, even though I have only seen 3 episodes, become my new favorite show. My immediate take-away is the importance of structure in a young-one’s life, which has caused me to reflect on my own upbringing. While spending a fabulous long weekend in Seattle with Ramon and his equally as fabulous business partner, Nicole, we discussed the concept of structure while raising children in some detail. Ramon had an extremely different upbringing than I did, with complete lack of structure. I had a lot of structure, and was lucky enough to have my mother be a stay-at-home mom until I was in elementary school, and I really think that this helped me to become a happy successful person. Ramon, with very little structure from his parents, even as a young child, worked to put structure in his life, and he is very happy and successful as an adult.
The concept of structure reared it’s head in both the sewing techniques class and the fabric science class earlier in the week. First, the idea was presented that that we won’t buy things unless they are comfortable, and these garments generally lack physical structure, as physical structure in a garment makes us sit-up straighter, restricts motion, etc, as well having clothes that have less structure are more applicable to a variety of body types. Second, in the Fabric Science class, clothes with more structure are generally used in social situations where we are trying to create a better impression of ourselves.
The idea that we won’t buy clothing if it is not comfortable is a very valuable notion. Look at how much knitwear (t-shirts, stretchy dresses, leggings, yoga pants, sweaters, sweatshirts, etc) is in our closets, and look at which things are so easy to get out of the closet first. How many times have you picked the knit top versus the silk blouse … why? Because the knit top is more comfortable and moves with you. And in terms of structured garments helping us to create a better impression of ourselves, think about how many prom dresses, wedding dresses, or men interviewing in suits that look casual and comfortable. But are these points not true with structure in our lives, too?
Remaining on the structure point, I feel like I have been needing more structure in my life to help me stay on track. A fitted bodice if you will. Previously I have really enjoyed taking the classes, even if some of my teachers, or the content have been a little underwhelming. I like the schedule to arrange my day around, but I don’t want it to take over my entire life. And thinking about structure and McQueen (I’ve got to make this thing go full circle), well, if there is one thing that McQueen is all about …even the knitwear … need I say more.
So, after all that, I am feeling a little less ambivalent, but still disappointed, for completely different reasons. A little knitting therapy always helps,but that is part of my current disappointment. I have been trying for a couple of months to find a variegated yarn that works completely harmoniously in my concept for a pattern design. I got new yarn yesterday to try, and yet again, failure. I don’t want to accept that the project isn’t going to work out …
I guess that things just don’t always work out the way you want them to, and instead of throwing things across the room it is better to accept it and move on. Some women think of the strength of Elizabeth Taylor overcoming adversity to emotionally deal with conquering their own. She’s never been quite my style, so I try to channel my inner Audrey Hepburn.
In addition to all of my pattern designs, I try to work on a little something for myself, everyday. Even if it is only for 5 minutes, I still want to make things just for me. I learn a lot by following other people’s patterns, and I have a lot of fun working with other people’s designs, and that is the whole point of knitting, right? To have fun? I think so.
Last year, about this time, I picked up a book called Custom Knits, in which I found a sweater that seems pretty much directly inspired by Audrey Hepburn, even if I am the only one who thinks so. The sweater is called Ingenue. So in one of my recent yarn orders, I bought some yarn that is in my budget (Valley Yarns Northhampton in Fawn) to work on Ingenue, which I am also knitting Continental Style, just as the Owls. This one is coming out much nicer. The wool isn’t my favorite texture, but I just adore the color.
The image at the top of this post is the final project in the book, and just below is an image of the finished collar, and the inside of the garment, where I have (I think) created a beautiful modification:
Instead of sewing the Cast On edge of the collar to the inside, bottom pattern repeat (fold over and sew with Wrong Sides Together), I K2Tog including the CO row and the last row of the last pattern repeat. This has resulted in a very nice finished edge, even hiding the CO row, completely, as it has been turned to the inside of the collar, which is enclosed.
Back to the point here, channeling an individual’s energy and spirit is a lot easier to do with something so reminiscent of them in front of you for so long. This project has become such a joy to work on, it is doing much more for me than knitting something without that outside influence that I am looking for. I think that this project is going to go much quicker than I anticipated, and maybe I can bring some of that influence into more of my own work and pattern development. Audrey is such a great muse and such a beautiful soul.
Oh, I am feeling better already.
- Added Structure? Check!
- Inspiration? Check!
- Knitting Therapy? Check!
I think I know what is coming next.
July 22, 2011 § 3 Comments
Come one, come all! We have Real, Yes, that’s right ladies and, well, Ladies, Real Alexander McQueen Patterns! Cleverly hidden, step right up and let Pattern Vault show you the 8th wonder of the world!
From the title of this post I can tell that you are super excited, and you should be. So, they are not straight from London, but I think that they are just about as close as I am going to get.
Last Monday a fellow blogger discovered Project-Hallway.com, and in sharing her/his/there posted a comment, through which I could follow to their own blog on WordPress. PatternVault (real name, identity, gender … everything … still unknown) shares some similar passions, from fabulous Toronto—I seem to have a fair number of followers from this fair region, hooray!—also recently made the voyage to The Met in NYC for McQueen. Only two posts so far in the blog, both focused on McQueen, I have learned something new, and very wonderful.
Back in the day when McQueen was at Givenchy, Vogue patterns published a small number of patterns from the Givenchy line/runway. I HIGHLY doubt that they are identical to the pattern pieces that McQueen created—unlike the one on ShowStudio, shown at the end of this post—but I think that they are as close as I am going to get. With an excellent opportunity to learn I whatever these patterns have to offer, I have located and purchased the few that I could find from Etsy and Ebay, and I am keeping my eyes peeled for the others.
After ordering on Monday afternoon, I have already received this one, which I already have fabric I could use for it.
So, then the question is, do I:
I have these two on the way:
And I am absolutely freaking dying to find one of these patterns …
So excited that I received the information and the insight on these patterns, I recommend reading through Pattern Vault’s blog, nice insight, and so far two great posts on McQueen:
- Alexander McQueen for Givenchy: Vogue Patterns, Part 1
- Alexander McQueen for Givenchy: Vogue Patterns, Part 2
Trina also pointed me at this McQueen pattern, which is AUTHENTIC from McQueen. I really need to pop this file over to
Kinko’s Fedex Office.
May 25, 2011 § 8 Comments
After returning from spending a fabulous and very busy week in New York, and making two trips to The Metropolitan Museum of Art, I am finally able to find the energy to muse over my adventure, and what an adventure it was. I’ll start with the McQueen bits, and come around to the other bits later.
The first McQueen stop was the boutique in the Meatpacking district. Ramon was too intimidated to go in, but my sister went in with me, and ogled with her eyes, while I groped with my paws.
The second McQueen stop, though, not known at the time, was MOOD on 37th, between 7th and 8th, right around the corner from Parsons, the New School where they film a little show you may have heard about. Three floors of heaven, I quickly became overwhelmed, but stayed for another 45 minutes, my mind, and heart racing. I learned that they still had a few yards of Alexander McQueen silk charmeuse, one of the ones that was out at MOOD in Los Angeles when I went last year. My sister once told me the story of a friend of hers, who went into a two-story Target and found herself, who knows how many hours later, walking around the second floor with a cart full of items. Having no recollection of what the items were, why she had them, or why she needed them, she called her husband for help. His response? “Just back away from the cart … ” I was having one of those moments at Mood. I had to make a trip on Friday to actually purchase fabric. I did buy the McQueen fabric. I think that should go without saying.
And next there was The Met. Closed on Monday, we opted out on Tuesday, as we got off to a late start by trying to get up early, walking 2 miles to Bouchon Bakery for known good coffee—terribly hard to find.
We inadvertently wound up sitting right outside the filming for the Today Show. We walked the two miles back in the rain, then feeling a bit under the weather, needing a nap, we decided to wait on The Met, as it was already noon, and heading off to the New York Public Library—OMG, fucking amazing artifacts on display here—and so Ramon and I went to The Met first thing on Wednesday morning, not long after it opened, before the throngs of locals and tourists would be flooding the gates to avoid the sheeting rain later in the afternoon.
Before the rain, and the crowds, with my Audio Tour in hand/over ear—best $7 spent on the entire trip, other than the admission to the museum—I spent about 3 hours in the exhibit, taking my time in front of each and every piece, sketching, staring, and listening. So many things to think about and so many things learned. Tid-bits and interesting facts interspersed throughout, but in such a way that by the end you actually feel like you could have known him. As if he was the one holding your hand, walking you down the garden path the entire time, and the things you didn’t know you were just too blind to see, because it all became so clear, it is all right in front of you.
Even though I saw countless others taking pictures the entire time, I did my best to remain respectful, but I do shamefully admit that I snapped one—very bad—iPhone picture at the very end of the Gallery. Because my picture really shows, well, nothing, I feel I am not hurting The Met or the Savage Beauty exhibit by posting it, especially because my entire post is so pro go-to-nyc-to-see-this-exhibit-RIGHT-NOW-as-it-is-quite-possibly-the-most-amazing-work-of-modern-art-that-will-be-on-view-to-the-public-for-decades-to-come.
I feel like I am seeing much more of the big picture, which really means that I am asking a lot more questions. I have always looked at McQueen as an artist, who’s medium was garments and fashion, but I now understand that this is much, much deeper than I initially believed. Part of me wonders if he even wanted to create “fashion” at all—fashion that participates in style as opposed to a message, a deeper meaning, something personal, political, loved or feared. I have even started thinking a lot more about other designers, and their goals, as well. McQueen’s work was so personal, and imbued with stories and messages. While at The Met and also at the boutique I read that McQueen wanted the women who wore his garments to feel powerful, a thought from him that I truly feel when I wear something that he created, and often opt for those garments when I need to courage or the power on that particular day. Throughout the exhibit I also heard and read that he didn’t have a specific muse for any of his collections, rather that he imagined powerful women during a time period, but not one woman specifically. Which makes me honestly doubt that he was ever designing for a “specific market,” but creating stories through garments and presentation that women wanted to adopt into their own world as extensions of themselves.
On the way back out airline had Satellite TV, and I started watching a show about a Norwegian base jumper, Karina Hollekim. Fascinating individual, extremely unique personality. An only child with a difficult childhood—a father who didn’t want children, and a mother with a brain injury—she spent all of her free time raising her adrenaline. After thousands of jumps, in 2006 she experienced a parachute failure during a standard skydive, and hit the ground at over 100 km/h. Not only did she survive, but defied the doctors when they said she’d never walk again. In the an interview she says, “It’s ironic how I’ve spent decades of my life trying to be someone special, and now, suddenly, all I want is to be normal.”
I honestly feel like I can say I share some of this feeling, that I have always wanted to be someone special. Going to New York, The Met, and seeing McQueen’s work, I realize that he was a very unique, special breed, and maybe he even shared this feeling. Haunted by his own character, living and breathing only for his work, utterly talented in his craft, and an amazing storyteller, we all know that he was his own demise. And so, maybe it is ok to be “normal,” but this doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t try like hell to be my best. Who knows the stories in my mind yet untold.
Last year, about this time, someone asked me what I wanted to do with my career and also my life. I remember responding, though I spoke without thinking. My own voice sounded otherworldly as it came from a place of truth, but still unknown to me, “I want to tell interesting stories.”
I will end with one final thought: To anyone thinking of going, spend the thousands of dollars it will cost, take out a loan if you have to, this museum special exhibition has changed my life, forever.
April 4, 2011 § 2 Comments
Six Days. The food poisoning lasted for six whole days, which was exactly half way into my spring break. Ugh. Finally, after getting the pH balance of my digestive system back in order, I was able to get back to sewing. I thought I was going to be able to dive into my Alexander McQueen projects for the entire week, alas, that was not to be the case.
Last Monday I was able to sit down with my new, and fabulous friend, Trina, who actually has a fashion degree—a real sewing, pattern making and beyond, education—but even better yet, is willing to share. In my desire to learn how to sew knits, and I have let my fear over them overtake me. Yes, I know you need different needles. Yes, I know you include only 3/8″ seam allowance, but, but, but … what about everything else in that vast, dark unknown space? Where does the dart intake go? How do you account for the stretch of the fabric, and they all seem stretchy to different degrees … Whoa is me.
With Trina as excited to teach as I am to learn, the Monday when I felt very green instead of going over a lot, we simply went over the cutting of knit fabric for a pattern, ironically, the fabric was also green. On Wednesday, I sewed an entire PJ set—very cute toddler size— all by myself, also learning how to use her industrial coverstitch machine. ACK! Not easy. She taught me some of her tips and tricks for getting seams to line up perfectly, cleaning up edges, attaching ribbed cuffs, and neckbands, and attaching elastic. The result, thumbs up from all three, Trina, her munchkin, and myself. I feel my fear subsiding.
As it is not my child, I am not showing the whole child, I feel like the duck is safe though.
On Friday we began drafting my first knit pattern. A simple top that involves some new construction techniques. As it turns out she drafts very differently, and much more efficiently than I was taught. Feeling like an indoor cat, watching a tiger catch it’s prey, I realize that my ways will be a-changin’.
In the process of making the pattern for my little knit top, Trina went over just how important it is to really analyze the photo before you begin to make the pattern. While at home over the weekend, I pulled out my Houndstooth fabric, and was just about to start making an 8-gore flared skirt pattern, based on what I remembered from this picture:
Before beginning, I could hear this little voice saying, “Maybe you should go and look at the picture again, before you begin.” After finding a high resolution image of this Fall 2009 Alexander McQueen look, I discovered that I was 100% wrong about how the skirt is made. It isn’t a flared 8-gore at all! It is a classic circle skirt! After dissecting instructions on how to pattern make a perfect circle skirt with a waist radius and the hem, within 2 hours, the entire pattern was drafted, fabric cut, and the skirt was made. The 1/4 inch rolled hem was even completed. Turns out that this is the EASIEST sewing project I have ever done. Though, my sewing skills are getting a lot better, and I think that probably had something to do with it, too. It might be a shame I had put it off for so long if I hadn’t have needed the time to figure out how to look closely at a photo.
And now for the jacket … a pattern making challenge if I ever saw one!
After the green faded from me, I decided that before diving in on the leather dress, that I had some other problems to solve. I have felt for some time that my block needed adjustments, so I began making a lot of those tedious adjustments and test fit muslin garments. As a trial and as a test I made this fun little linen, zebra print dress:
I feel like the cutting added some extra ease to the waist, and that there is a little bit of gaping in the neck. For a $12 project, and a test project at that, I really can’t complain. I am tired of making test fit muslins, so I can only assume that cheap JoAnns 100% linen is going to be making some more appearances. Now knowing what I need to fix, and thank goodness I have wheedled the problems down to very minor ones, I need to figure out how to make my shoulder pads, and then adjust my pattern according, also dropping the back to mullet levels for the leather version … Yes, I am sure I will probably do one more test fit before attempting the leather.
You only get ONE shot to get it right …
February 27, 2011 § 2 Comments
OK So, last week, I had a serious meltdown.
Infact, I think I am still having it. So, I decided I needed to take a long, hard look at my priorities, get some things straight, and weed some projects out.
Ramon determined that I need to start telling people “no” more frequently, so I am trying, now, to put this into effect. Still, I am still feeling completely overwhelmed, and as thought I absolutely can’t get any time for myself to work on my projects. Though, quietly, and through the cracks, I am seeing some progress being made. My sketchbook and swatch-books are filling, slowly, but none-the-less. I have also decided to eliminate one project completely, or, at least until after I have finished my McQueen project, and I am being a little less adventurous with cooking dinner. I still just wish that I had more time though …
While in the midst of my meltdown, I decided to finish the last project that caused a meltdown, the blue Alexander McQueen Sweater Dress. I ripped the collar out for about the sixth time, and it would appear that I have learned a lot in the last few months as I didn’t have any trouble with it this time. I happily finished weaving in all of the ends, and then wore it to Stitches West, where the kind folks at the Cascade Yarns booth took my picture in the dress, and posted it on the Cascade Yarns website.
Having now worn this dress out three times, I feel incredibly proud of my handywork, and pattern-making skills. So soft, and SO WARM!
Also in the middle of the meltdown, I finished a knitting project that should have taken me a week, but instead took three: the Feather tunic from my favorite knitting book of 2011 Modern Top-Down Knitting
Looking falsly lumpy on my crappy dressform, I L O V E this tunic. I have worn it four times since finishing it last week. A fun, easy project and easy to wear. I did make a few changes, and I also learned a few new skills. I changed the shaping of the skirt to be a bit more fitting, spacing out the increases from four rows to four inches. I also had the opportunity to learn how to crochet elastic into the waistband, which was very easy. Additionally, i learned how to double crochet, and while it is a useful skill, I preferred the look of two rounds of double crochet at the bottom, so went with that, instead. I am still looking for trim to put on the inside of the hem, and haven’t yet found anything that I love just yet.
I will do my best to get some hallway images of both of these dresses as soon as I can!
February 11, 2011 § 3 Comments
One year to the day, and even with Lady Gaga’s tribute, it is still your day. You are still missed, your vision unparalleled.
In an effort to properly honor this day, I bustled and struggled all week to get this dress done in time to wear to a fundraiser gala that my sister invited me to, which was held in San Francisco last night. Despite my lack of confidence in my sewing ability regarding the completion of this specific garment, I actually got it done, and I thought I even got it done fairly well!
Not without serious struggles, after about 60 hours worth of work and paired with my new favorite, everyday winter boots, here it is, for you:
After making my final dress for my pattern-making class last December, I felt like I had made a good start, but discovered that I still had a long-long way to go. Three completed muslins later I felt that I was ready to start the final piece. I decided to use a short-pile velvet for the red fabric, as I appreciated the drape and the way that the color compliments the print. Though, I found that once I got actually sewing it, it has a tendency to move around when paired with fabrics of alternate fiber. None-the-less, and I can’t believe I can actually say this, I did not have to rip out one single seam for this project.
One of the most difficult things for me was figuring out the proper way to angle the princess seam in at the waist, and have the red, side draped panel, fall properly. I must have drawn about 15 pattern pieces for the center front and princess side panels before getting so something that actually seemed like it would work out right. Luckily, Thunder was an excellent assistant on this project, even keeping my Bernina 450 carrying bag warm, and my new ironing board, that I am absolutely in love with, company:
The absolute hardest part was draping the velvet side panels. Not knowing exactly how to solve the problem, I made the entire dress with a huge, huge amount of extra fabric attached to the princess panels, that would just fall to the floor. I sewed them in, and then I got out my pins and sheers. Somehow or another I managed to get it onto my dress-form, which doesn’t have collapsible shoulders. I felt frustration mounting after working for over an hour at trying to figure out how to get the right shapes in the right places. Somehow still patient enough—really, I think it was fear—I didn’t cut anything. Eventually, I did the adult thing—who knew I could do that?— and decided to just leave it alone, and come back to it later.
Wednesday, the following day, withing 30 seconds of touching the panels, it came to me, I started pinning, and within one hour the panels were draped properly, and, get this, sewn!I then spent one final hour stitching the rest of the lining into the last place it needed to go, by hand. Sitting quietly doing the hand work, I have to admit, that I really felt quite proud.
The dress with the draping completed, pinned, and sewing in progress:
Many stares, and a number of “discrete” pictures later I am forced to realize, again, just how hard, weird and completely amazing it is to wear this sort of thing in public.
Lastly, also in honor and tribute to Alexander McQueen, I decided that yesterday was the day to bite the bullet and buy the pink, snake-skin printed leather I have been eying for Months (with a capital M) for this look, pattern already in progress:
January 23, 2011 § Leave a Comment
While working on another post, I thought It might be fun to share this. I saw the news and video yesterday on Facebook when working on my Project Hallway revamp. As soon as I watched it, I realize that Lady Gaga, my artistic hero, may have over Alexander McQueen tributed me. Well, bigger budgets mean bigger possibilities. Beautiful, and impressive that she doesn’t even appear in the video itself, the make-up tells a much bigger story. I realize that the song appeared on the runway for Theirry Muggler, but I honestly see that this is 100% for McQueen.
Beautiful, and impressive that she doesn’t even appear in the video itself, the make-up tells a much bigger story. I realize that the song appeared on the runway for Theirry Muggler, but I honestly see that this is 100% for McQueen.
Perhaps I should see what other McQueen tributes I can find out there.
January 17, 2011 § 5 Comments
Upon surfing through my Sunday NYTimes this morning, fully aware that I am a day late, I also realize that I am about two months behind on the news. On November 11th, 2010, the Met issued a press release about an upcoming exhibit: Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty, May 4, 2011–July 31, 2011. How I could have missed this news baffled me, though it shouldn’t.
I don’t think I have been on my A game, for a while, and then upon hearing recent news, I think I’ve sort of fallen off the inspiration wagon.
My sister and I have talked a number of times about branding in fashion, most recently about the Spring 2011 McQueen collection, the first by Sarah Burton. Of course this collection was bound to be under great scrutiny. People wanted to know if Sarah Burton would be able to live up to and continue the vision, artistry, raw imagination, and workmanship of Lee Alexander McQueen. Her collection was recognized as meeting these goals, though, both my sister and myself felt it was a regurgitation of Lee’s ideas, and cleverly masked the insecurity of the line’s new designer in rich textiles, attention to detail and exquisite tailoring, also things we had seen before, but expect, as we should from the McQueen line. All this being said, I honestly feel that the line should have, well, been laid to rest in the wooden box alongside its visionary, creator, and proprietor. Never content with making fashion for fashion’s sake, his voice has changed in his death and he is now, merely, and sadly a brand. No longer art. It will be a long time before we see that much true creativity, artistry, vision and workmanship in fashion, and ultimately, modern art.
I am currently trudging my way through Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M.: Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and the Dawn of the Modern Woman by Sam Wasson. It’s not that it’s that bad, it’s just not that good. I found it at the library a week ago in the “bestseller” area, clearly, misfiled if you ask me. The author interjects his opinions in the weirdest places, I don’t think you were actually there buddy, so why tell just this one paragraph like you were, and all the others like your not. The flow is a bit catty-wham-pus for my taste, and it seems like the content could be written in such an exciting way, and it is just not. I just finished reading a section regarding the wardrobe and how Audrey, and Holly, made modern fashion accessible to all, not just the elite. But, I don’t know that she made fashion accessible, I think that she made specifically style, and the essence of chic accessible. I think that true fashion, and style are different things. Style can become a brand, but art can never be. Just look at what Andy Wharhol did with brands and he is still, and will always be seen as an artist.
The article in the NYTimes that indicated that I do, in-fact, live under a rock, and enlightened me to the upcoming McQueen exhibit at The MET, shared my opinion on fashion, brands and commodity as being, not one in the same. Apparently the brand Alexander McQueen can be sustained from creating one-off pieces for ladies with high bank rolls, dresses costing upwards of $30,000 each.
I am sick of seeing the LV insignia bags. I don’t want compromise in art or artistic vision for everyone to be able to buy something “authentic.” I wish there were more separation between fashion (art)—so little of it that there truly is—and “style.”
Appropriately featured, the Alexander McQueen exhibit will be opening May 4th and running through July 31st. Ironically, I received a promotion from Virgin America Airlines this morning, before learning of the exhibit, advertising fares through mid may from SFO to NYC for $139 (before taxes, fees, snacks and movies). So now comes the great question, do I fork over the $300, find a couch to surf on, grab the bull by its horns and fly out for one night for, perhaps, the only chance I will ever receive to see, in person, the amazing work of Alexander McQueen?
And if I do go, what do I wear?
Even though I drove 800 miles for real Alexander McQueen fabric, this, sadly, I think is outside of my budget …
Images in this post are from Vogue, July 2010, United States: A Noble Farewell for Alexander McQueen by Annie Leibovitz
January 3, 2011 § Leave a Comment
I have been feeling a little bit of the need for inspiration, to get my head back in the game. After reading BerninaAG’s tweet this morning, regarding if anyone’s New Years resolutions involve sewing—yes!!—it is starting to sink in just how far behind I am.
A few months back I found an image of McQueen’s final piece, perhaps the last garment he ever touched, in the last pages of the New York Times Magazine which comes in the Sunday paper—speaking of which, I am just realizing that I haven’t seen any sign of my Sunday paper in weeks. This particular image was from the Fashion Fall 2010 issue, it grabbed my attention, and pulled me closer. I have been saving it, wanting to frame it but to far behind the 8-ball to actually make this happen.
Just before Christmas, on a family trip to Target to find toys to donate for the Toys for Tots program, my sister and my mom decided to do Christmas shopping for parties present, as the ability to interpret desires and needs is much more easily defined. Upon my sister’s request, I informed her that I wanted a picture frame for the McQueen dress, insisting that a larger frame with a matte would do the image justice. After refusing my offer for cutting the matte myself, stating, “Julie, you have way to much to do already,” she gifted a lovely frame, complete with finished matte. Super painlessly the image was trimmed, placed, and hung on the wall, right above my beloved Bernina, whom, as one might see in the image below, also went traveling recently.
Now with the image standing cleanly presented above the Blue Lex (the blue horse figure from Kentucky) I feel a sense of quietness and peace as the New Year is beginning. I think it is time for some reflection, and also some kicking my ass into gear.
Tomorrow I will be posting my second knitting pattern. I am almost done typing it up. I also took some time today to organize all of my knitting needles and supplies, in preparation for The Great OrganizaitonFest of 2011, when my sister comes over later this week. Paper-shredder beware. I think you have a lot of work ahead of you. No time to wait for spring to tame the beast, or maybe it’s the shrew. I feel like my sewing and knitting projects have exploded and need to get them in order, badly.
December 15, 2010 § 7 Comments
There were a few who took my fabric lust a little too lightheartedly, clearly not seeing the depth and gravity of the problem. However, one of you, my friend Jenson, got it, and offered a trip down to LA, as he had a press product launch to attend on the afternoon of December 14th, in Irvine.
Having made a number of glutten free sandwiches, acquired a case of water, apples and two bags of kettle chips, Jenson and I were in the car and driving by 6 am yesterday. My lead-foot worked to our advantage so that even with 4 bathroom stops—I drank a lot of coffee, then a lot of water—we pulled into Mood Fabric’s Beverly Hills parking lot at a squeak after 11.
Oh great holy ground. I found you.
There they were, hanging from the ceiling. The store owner was there, and quickly pointed me in the direction of the McQueen silk charmeuse bolts. Amazingly beautiful, bold, intricate and, well, striking, I slowly pulled the price tag out of the round bolt. Expecting the DVF silk prices that I’d previously witnessed at Britex of $350 + a yard, I almost fell over when I read $50/yard. Pinch me, I must be dreaming.
They had very little McQueen left, but I did find another digitally printed silk charmeuse animal print that I felt like I couldn’t live without. Wondering through the isles, Mood has more selection than any fabric store I have ever been to before, even despite it’s small size. Upon discovering the Wool Wall, I almost peed my pants. Want pinstriped wool? Well, name the color of the wool, color of the pinstripe, thickness of the pinstripe, width between the pinstripes, and they have it, and here is the best yard, it’s just about all between $18–25/yard. Wait, what?? Really? You can’t even buy a wool remnant at Britex for less than $100/yard. And it just goes on, and on, and on …
After a phone call to my mother, concerned I was going to spend too much money—”Well, what did you go down there for, again? And, you haven’t been spending any money on anything just in the hopes of buying one yard of one thing down there. 800 mile trip … just buy the fabric”— I was all lined up to buy two yards of two McQueen prints, only to discover that there was only 1 1/2 yards of one of them, and other than the 1 1/2 yards hanging from the ceiling, that was it. Micha, the very patient gal that was helping me gave me all 3 yards for the price of two.I figure it is enough to working with other fabrics or leathers to make something seriously amazing. Micha told me that the FIDM students that had scheduled to come in that afternoon would be “literally crying” when the realized that I bought the last of their fabric. Sorry, but know it went to a good place!
All three of these prints are large prints, and were shot over a tabletop.
3 1/2 yards (for the price of two)
1 1/2 yards (Not McQueen. It was in the Cavalli bin, but I am not positive it is Cavalli)
I thought about getting some wool for some of the projects, but decided that that should be another trip where I can spend more time, and know a little bit more about what I am doing regarding tailoring. So, I was reasonable and stuck to what I drove down there for.
After heading over to Irvine for the most disappointing product launch I’ve ever witnessed at Fox Head, Shift, we got back on the road, and feeling a little bonkers we got back home at 11:30. Totally worth the trip, and I can’t wait to do it again. Biggest fabric selection I have ever seen, everything is high quality, and a quarter of the price I can get similar items up here. So organized, everything is clean, has a home, and is somehow easy so see. No searching for a needle in a haystack. Great staff, super helpful, and as I mentioned, patient. I love you Mood. I love you.
Miles travelled: 786
Total Hours: 19
Glutten Free Sandwiches Eaten: 3
I5 Bathroom stops: 6
Fabric Acquired: Priceless!