Opulence

For my DS 154 Fabric and Apparel Structures II class (Fall 2009), our final project was to put together a five piece collection for some kind of event. We were to make two or three of the pieces and then depict the rest through illustration and fabric swatches. We could pattern/drape the pieces and/or make them from commercial patterns. I made two pieces (one draped and patterned by myself, the other from a commercial pattern). Overall, I felt my concept/idea behind the collection was well developed, but the clothing itself could have been more interesting, and I need to work on the fit. Here is my written statement about the collection:

Opulence

This collection is for a woman in her twenties, looking for attire of unexpected elegance for a night on the Chi-town with her girlfriends on New Year’s Eve. She likes versatile garments, so the collection includes pieces that can be mixed and matched, dressed up or dressed down.  Dramatic silhouettes and unexpected details make these pieces special to her. She loves to shop, but she does not like to spend a lot of money, unless she needs something for a special occasion, or if she finds something really unique and wearable. With this in mind, I have tried to use less expensive materials (fake fur instead of real fur) and to add embellishments for a one-of-a-kind touch.

This collection is inspired by the story “Many Furs” or “A Thousand Furs” by the Brothers Grimm, in which a princess flees from an undesirable proposal with only the richest of her possessions- a coat made from the fur of one thousand different animals, keepsakes from her mother, a secret ingredient from the kitchen, and three dresses: one as golden as sun, one as silvery as the moon, and another as glittering as the stars. The color palette is rich: gleaming golds, shining silvers, deep purples (for a touch of royalty), inky black, and sumptuous shades of cocoa and taupe.

The five garments are harem pants, a pencil skirt, a bustier, a faux fur coat, and a simple dress. The harem pants and pencil skirt are both made from a black cotton knit. This material is comfortable, washable, and can be dressed up or dressed down. It also drapes nicely. The harem pants fall at the natural waist and have a roomy silhouette which may balance a more fitted top, like the bustier.  They are ankle-length with cuffs so the wearer can show off some heels and/or a fun-colored trouser sock.

Me wearing the harem pants, which I made from this pattern. (view B)
They fall at my hips, instead of my natural waist, as I had originally intended. But I like the slouchy look and they are really comfy! Worn with a shirt of mine from Urban Outfitters, because the bustier I made is too big for me.

Cuff detail. I chose these buttons because the design and color go along with my concept.

The pencil skirt is fitted, which could balance a looser top, and falls just below knee length, which could balance a more revealing top. It features a wide yoke that hits at the natural waistline and curved darts. The curved darts are unexpected lines and mimic the crescent shape of the moon, which goes along with my inspiration. For a closure, it has an invisible zipper and hook and eye on the left side.

The bustier has a sweetheart neckline and princess style lines. This garment is more of a statement piece, whereas the skirt and harem pants are staples. Therefore, I chose more delicate fabrics that have to dry cleaned for this garment. The front and back panels of the bustier are made from a black, copper, and purple rayon blend jacquard weave fabric. The rest of the bustier is constructed from a black satin. Having the sides in black makes the wearer appear thinner. These fabrics are aesthetically pleasing; both have a slight sheen, and the jacquard fabric has a unique pattern and a gorgeous color palette. The bustier is fully lined with a plum polyester fabric that accents the purple in the jacquard. The lining supports the boning and makes the bustier more comfortable. There is an exposed zipper (and hook and eye) in the back for a decorative closure.

Bustier that I draped and patterned myself. Front (all pictured on mannequin, unfortunately have not found anyone that it fits, although it fits perfectly on my dress form!)

Back Detail of zipper and jacquard fabric. I am in love with this fabric. Found it a Gayfeather Fabrics, my favorite place to get materials in Madison.

The faux fur coat is primarily made from a taupe faux fur that has a linear pattern and medium-length pile. This fabric is used for the bodice and is on the bias so that it chevrons in the front, at the side seams, and in the back. This creates a dynamic pattern. It can be worn open or closed with fur hooks. The sleeves are made of a short-pile dark brown faux fur. The solid colored sleeves with a shorter pile balance all the chevron patterns going on in the bodice.  I also chose to use two different furs to hint at the patchwork fur coat mentioned in the Grimm’s fairy tale. The coat is lined in the same material as the bustier. It hits at the mid-thigh in a cocoon-like silhouette. The silhouette is dramatic and cozy, as the wearer is enveloped in so much faux fur. The sleeves are bracelet length, to balance the longer length; and the wearer could show off some leather gloves. The faux fur provides warmth and is less expensive and controversial than real fur. It is soft and has a compelling texture.

The dress is short, hitting at the mid thigh to contrast the conservative neckline and mid-arm length sleeves. It is slightly fitted and can be slipped over the head; the simple silhouette allows for accessorizing with a belt at the natural waist. It is made of a light-weight silver polyester-imitation of a silk duppioni and features a sequined band at the hem. This material is aesthetically pleasing and can be hand washed or machine-washed inside out (to protect the sequined band).

The bustier can be worn with the pants or the skirt. The coat goes with the dress and the pencil skirt. Its roomy silhouette offsets the shortness of the dress and the tightness of the skirt. The proportions work as well since it is about the same length as the dress, and it is shorter than the pencil skirt. The pieces in this collection are meant to be mixed and matched with each other and with items in the wearer’s wardrobe. The color palette is rich and the fabrics are comfortable and luxurious while remaining fairly inexpensive, giving the wearer a feeling of opulence without the big price tag. The pieces allow the wearer to make a memorable appearance on New Year’s Eve, much like the Princess at the Prince’s ball in her dresses of moon, sun, and star light.

Storyboard.

I traced the Chicago skyline on top in Adobe Illustrator, the illustration is hand-drawn and scanned into the computer, and the line flats are from the commercial pattern packages. Overall, the storyboard is not organized very well, it is hard to “read”, so I will explain. The line flats of the pants and the dress are the same pants the girl on the left wears, and the same dress the girl on the right wears, respectively. The fabrics on the left correspond to the bustier- from top to bottom there is the black satin, the rayon blend jacquard weave, and the polyester lining. The fabrics on the bottom from left to right are the cotton knit used in the pants and skirt, and the faux furs used in the coat. The fabric in the right corner represents the fabric for the dress, but it would be in silver. It is also used for the top the girl in the center is wearing, which is not officially part of the collection. If I did this storyboard again, I would include line flats for all the garments in the collection, I would not include garments that are not officially in the collection, and I would arrange the fabric swatches so that they correspond with their garments more clearly.

Illustration in watercolor, colored pencil, india ink, and ink. Girl on the left wears the harem pants and bustier. Girl in the center wears the pencil skirt. Girl on the right wears the fur coat and the dress.

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  1. Pingback: Round-Up: VI « Caffeinerd

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