Dress to Kilt : Chanel pre-Fall 2013, Knitwear Fabulous

 "Doing collections, doing fashion is a non-stop dialogue." -- Karl Lagerfeld

"Doing collections, doing fashion is a non-stop dialogue." -- Karl Lagerfeld

Be still my tartan and fair isle heart!  Karl Lagerfeld's pre-Fall 2013 collection for Chanel was outstanding, it is hands down still my favorite couture collection. Very wearable but with interesting twists.  I'm a Lindsay with ties to Clan Lindsay, so maybe I'm genetically programmed to love this look, but really, can you blame me? The layers of knit and wool fabrics are winter perfect. And all those details...swoon! May I please have that ruff?  And that orange scarf

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it's in the details :: Red Valentino Fall 2013

"Beauty, to me, is about being comfortable in your own skin.  That, or a kick-ass red lipstick." -- Gwenyth Paltrow

Look at all the embroidery!  And those giant red velvet roses!  I'm in love! RED which stands for Romantic Eccentric Dress and is Valentino's trademark hue, is the sister line to the Valentino fashion house.  Granted, this middle-aged gal prefers skirts that are a tad longer, say to just above the knees, that little black suit is swoon worthy.

As we are only 48 days until Valentine's Day, I thought I'd also share this fab review of Ladies in Red by Monica Corcoran featuring Nancy Reagan (and her Reagan Red) as well as Jessica Rabbit, my favorite femme fatale.  

it's in the details :: I ♥ Agatha Ruiz de la Prada

I have a love affair for the work of Agatha Ruiz de la Prada.  Her work crosses over from fashion to art and adds a dash of whimsy I can't resist.  The bird cage necklace is an example.  Yes, those are live birds in the tube flitting about as the model walks.  The heart headdresses are equally spectacular.  You have to check out the video to see their true beauty with movement.  

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it's in the details :: Roberto Capucci, Sculptural Fashion

 "Moonlight is sculpture."  -- Nathaniel Hawthorne

"Moonlight is sculpture."  -- Nathaniel Hawthorne

Roberto Capucci refers to his work as a "study in form."  Inspired by architecture, poetry, and music,his garments wrap the body in color that sings.  I love the pleats and folds, the high voltage use of color, but most of all I am inspired by the sense of movement in each garment.  

Costumes :: Snow Queen

 Springtime is the land awakening.  The March winds are the morning yawn.  -- Lewis Grizzard 

Springtime is the land awakening.  The March winds are the morning yawn. 
-- Lewis Grizzard 

Last summer during a blistering heat wave, I made a garment inspired by Hans Christian Anderson's story "The Snow Queen."  The top is knit from Lion Brand's Vanna's Glamour®.  It's a lovely yarn to work with and adds this gorgeous shimmer that shifts with the light - perfect for my Snow Queen Dress. Having recently invested in a large die cutter, I decided to put it to the test.  I cut a 100+ cardboard snowflakes which I then embellished.  Naturally, no two snowflakes are the same.  I painted, rubber stamped and colored with pencil and pen. I glued on sequins, wrapped threads and added small sparkling stickers.  The skirt (originally the underskirt to a bridal dress) became an experiment in how far I could push a mixed media approach.  

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I finally got around to getting the work professionally photographed.  Larry Sanders is a genius at photography. He knows exactly how to light my work to capture it at the best possible vantage.  It was a big photo shoot lasting nearly 8 hours as I had so much work to be photographed.  I love being able to step back and take a more neutral look at what I've created.  

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These same snowflakes would make a great garland for the mantel or as ornaments to decorate a Christmas tree. 

it's in the details: Deng Hao

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 Deng Hao is an extraordinary designer from China.  Her combination of beading with fabrics created on digital fabric printer is inspiring.  Look at those gorgeous details of gothic European stained glass printed on silk!Though this designer is incredibly well-known in Southeast Asia, there is relatively little written about her in English.   Checkout the blog Monster ate my Couture for a bit more information.  

This video will give you a great sense of how Deng Hao's garments move, or I should say - float. 

it's in the details :: knitting love

I am loving these denim blues from James Long and , Fall , 2013 collection.  Cool, urban, chic and yet ultimately very wearable.  (Check out the shoes too.  So want a pair.)

Eyelash yarn is another matter. Part of me recoils from the very thought of it, but then again I am oddly attracted to this piece by Thakoon. The sassy fuzz is a striking contrast to this cool, simple vest, also from Thakoon's Fall 2013 ready to wear collection.  

it's in the details :: Pearly Kings and Queens of London

 It's not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.  --  Mother Theresa

It's not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.  --  Mother Theresa

The Pearly Kings and Queens of London are magnificent.  A tradition started in the 1800's, it continues to this day.
Each Pearly King and Queen fundraise for a particular charity.  While newcomers have joined the movement, for
many it's a tradition that has been passed down through the generations.  Their garments are covered in mother of
pearl buttons, some with as many as 13,000 hand-stitched into place.  There are noticeable symbols, such as the
horseshoe for good luck and the anchor for hope.  

The pearlies have inspired countless costume and fashion designers. If you are a White Stripes fan, you probably
already noticed the pearly influence in the costumes worn Meg and Jack White for their album Icky Thump.

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I love this work by Temperley London for their Spring/Summer, 2010 collection.  While not all the garments are covered in buttons, you can certainly see the graphics connections.

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"Pearly Queen" made by Savile Row tailors for the Victorian and Albert Museum exhibition Power of Makingis a delightful visual pun with the classic profile of young Queen Elizabeth II worked in buttons.

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it's in the details :: Laser Cut Lace

 It's difficult to see why lace should be so expensive; it's mostly holes. -- Mary Little Wilson

It's difficult to see why lace should be so expensive; it's mostly holes. -- Mary Little Wilson

Since my great aunt first taught me tatting, I've been hooked on making lace.  Lately my thoughts have turned to the use of laser technology.  Laser cut fabrics are popping up all over the runway.  I love these  Azzedine Alaia shoes from his Spring 2011 collection.  Last fall's AW collection from Balmain was a stunner.  Laser cut leather combined with beadwork and embroidery.  Be still my heart!

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This leather bag from  BCBGMaxazria is less elaborate, but equally charming.

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Inspired by these fashions, I wanted to know how I could make my own laser-cut fabrics.  Laser Cutting Shapes in Ohio created these fabrics for Vera Wang and  Marchesa.  They also work with artists!

Of course, the technology isn't limited to textiles. Check out this fabulous chair by Marcel Wanders!  I want one!

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It would go well with the table by Imogen Luddy that I covet.

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it's in the details :: Valentino Couture 2013

  I am especially grateful that I have been able to keep my own style over the decades, in spite of the many changes that have taken place in the world of fashion and in its business.     --     Photo Credit: Yannis Vlamos

I am especially grateful that I have been able to keep my own style over the decades, in spite
of the many changes that have taken place in the world of fashion and in its business.  

--    Photo Credit: Yannis Vlamos

I like to knit.  I have a degree in weaving.  But what I really love is embroidery, with or without the beads.  This season no one is adding the embroidered flourishes like Valentino's atelier.  The tweed coat with gold work details is swoon worthy.  The contrast of mannish fabric with the girly gold implies that a woman can hold her own in a man's world, but does so on her own terms.  The coat that turns an every day moment into an event.

I wonder who did the embroidery.  The House of Lesage? His company is one of the few who could create these details with such mastery.  I still have a small dream of one day studying at his school and working on such garments.  They are more than fashion, they are breathing works of art.

 Photo Credit: Yannis Vlamos

Photo Credit: Yannis Vlamos

The perfection between drape, cut and craftsmanship in these two garments illustrates the necessary relationship between designer and artisan.  The artisan is the one to execute the designer's wishes. One has to have intimate knowledge of the fabric and how the weight of such embroidery will effect
the drape.  

"As couturiers, Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli found the idea of the wunderkammer particularly appealing," reported Nicole Phelps for Style.com. "In a cabinet of curiosities, the pieces are very unique, very one-of-a-kind," Piccioli said. "We've tried to make something that is not only special, but also surprising, unexpected." Unexpectedly luxurious, feminine and artful.

 Photo Credit: Yannis Vlamos

Photo Credit: Yannis Vlamos