Designers creating one-of-a-kind handmade products
Fashion week comes, and what happens in our heads? New trends, already seen trends, trends! We see color, and we see interesting shapes, part of new brand statements for strong, confident women.
Reviews won’t ever focus on the specific craft traits that particular hand-work-based designers showcase, because that is not their focus. But it’s you readers who might not know entirely the marvelous things that go through, and behind the scenes, during the creation of the most coveted looks of the season.
I wouldn’t have started this blog if I didn’t think craft is one of the motors that moves and differentiates different fashion houses from one another.
Craft, since is synonymous of quality, also relates the pieces to special techniques, and heritage – if not of the house’s atelier, then specific artisans and trade organizations around the world.
On a good note, craftsmanship is not only connected of the Paris and Milan maisons. American designers have done nothing but taken craft to a whole new level of hip and modern style by using handmade techniques to balance the overwhelming futurism of their clothes.
Proenza Schouler is off to great things this year – and let’s just say that the opening of their Madison Ave flagship is no casualty. For SS 2013 they are talking collages. They turned lather into a light fabric, or what people may call leather-lace. Their patch-worked garments of leather were contrastingly crocheted together by Madagascar artisans. Dresses of diagonal patches of bold solid colors mixed with pop-culture photographs printed on fabric were a great statement about the bombarding-information moment we are going though. Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCollough’s perfect balance of technology and handcrafts in their collection is only a bit of proof of the modernity of their vision.
Another hip craftsman in New York is Alexander Wang. His collections are the epitome of cool in NYFW – alas the world. But he not only knows how to dress a tomboy girl sexily in black and white, he also makes it interesting to watch season through season. Wang presented dresses cut organically horizontally, which were later on put together with embroidery techniques that created a lace/pick-a-boo effect. “I wanted to start dissecting the pieces,” said the designer to WWD. “So we played with the idea of suspension and tension through embroidery techniques.”
Now let’s talk about Rodarte. The Muleavy sister duo has such an imagination, that me in my old designing days who never ever be able to come close to. From their unique world, this time, they brought a warrior princesses to the 21st century. Garments had extreme angular cuts in contrasting fabrics, but the designers also presented fairly straightforward pieces of hand woven jacquards, and crocheted squares attached like chain mail in tops and skirts. Rodarte’s ambition in knitwear design has put this technique in the highlight of fashion with never before imagined possibilities in texture and shapes, and style.
We are left with the masters of cut, Narciso Rodriquez and Francisco Costa for Calvin Klein.
Narciso Rodriquez is not as hip as a designer, maybe because he certainly doesn’t dress all American socialites on red carpet events, but his bias-cut dresses, and the ultra-sophisticated color palette landed him on a prime spot as a notable designer and craftsman. This spring collection added a little bit of extra handwork with wooden laminated sequences in all sorts of nature tones – another smart way of talking prints.
Calvin Klein Collection’s tailored shapes have the power of looking sooo Calvin Klein and minimalist, and yet so new and complex every season. This collection was primarily black, white and champagne, with structured bust shapes – think 21st century pinups. Dresses were then over-layered by organically woven wire cages that added liveliness to the overall look.
As far as Donna Karan, we know she is and has been involved with artisans for a very long time. And her collections reflect so. Dusty sea colors made her SS 2013 palette of hand died, embellished dresses in linens and silks as soft as sea foam. I cannot forget WWD’s quote basically implying how passé feathers on dresses can look when shredded raffia has so much lightness and charm.
*Do you think craft can be ultra-modern as well?
Images courtesy of WWD