Saturday, September 19, 2009

Ready-to-Wear vs Custom-Made

Fashion Week is over here in NYC, and everywhere, the press has been full of stories on the state of the industry, the price of the clothes and how to give the industry, especially at the high end, a jolt.

Debate over price point, $800.00 for a dress is considered by some to be to “low end” for “high end” according to an interview in the NYT with Vera Wang, while Thakoon shows off $100.00 a yard fabric that he plans to use for a dress that will wind up at about 2000.00 in the stores.

Me, I think this is pretty impressive, considering he has to make that dress, pay for all the materials (There is a lot of draping this season=more fabric) & notions (trims, buttons, zippers etc) plus the highly skilled sewers needed to make something that will merit that price and then, add his markup, covering fixed and variable costs, and allowing for some profit (this should also include an allowance for buy backs & charge backs) plus carrying costs, since he will probably have to wait between 90 - 120 days to get paid. All this, for about 1/3rd of that estimated retail price.

On the other hand, in Thursdays’ style section was a feature “The Bodysuit Electric” featuring a $2300.00 ready-to-wear YSL strapless leather 1980’s style bodysuit, and all the different ways you can wear it. (Unfortunately all too 1980's derived) It is a hot, sexy garment, but why would you buy this as RTW? Even in the editorial you can see that the model will fall out of it the second she spontaneously raises an arm. A great piece, but a piece of this sort screams out to be custom-made. And when you consider the investment, it should to be custom-made.

What do you think, RTW vs Custom-Made?
Why and for what would you make the choice, or not, to go Custom-Made?

Or even Made-to-Order? (Usually an existing style, but adjusted to suit, usually within a specified size range.)

Other reads:
Wall Street Journal - various articles on Luxury

There is a ton more out there, but my brain is a bit fried from the last week. I need a break!

Runway (!) Image Credit
There are some really fabulous photos here, Enjoy!


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Ephemeral and Eternal

The view this evening:






It is beyond my ability to describe the feelings that fill my heart when I see these lights. They are simply, to me, the most beautiful and fitting memorial to all who died on 9/11/01 and to all who have fought for us and all who have died since.

The Skyline is like a hazy glimmer of what could be the best in us. A once and future dream if you will. I hope we will reach it.


Friday, September 4, 2009

Rick Owens' Real Aesthetics

I had to post this, the first part a great interview with Rick Owens that I found here, On The Business of Fashion. Part two is on youtube.

I have known about Rick Owens since the late 80's. A roommate of mine was good friend of Michelle Lamy, who he lived with at the time, in LA. I was always hearing about the clothes he was designing. (We've probably been designing for the same amount of time.) So over the years I've always followed his work and have always held a great deal of admiration for it, especially as a fellow designer who works in leather. In this interview, I realize that we share a lot as far as our feelings about fashion, the industry and working in it. His POV, is both practical and realistic and he doesn't buy into all the BS that we are bombarded with constantly.

I love that he jettisoned his press office, and the reason why. I love, love, love his kind of aggravated comment on the cv's & "collages" he sees all the time.

"Everyone wants to be a designer, what I need is older people who know how to make the stuff"

I could not have said it better myself. Bravo!

(Case in point is a dear friend who gave up teaching her Senior's course in American Couture at FIT. Because FIT does not teach them enough construction to either make or differentiate between 4 types of buttonholes. How shameful of FIT.)

I love that Rick Owens has stayed so true to himself over the years and of course I love what he does with leather (& knits). We share an aesthetic about wearability and quality & I am thrilled that he is finally getting his due.


Thursday, September 3, 2009

Glorious Leather Jacket

Ok, after getting all worked up about the leather jackets in "Inglourious Basterds" let's get back to the modern world. (Though I live to see those statement lapels come back!)

Here are some photos of a jacket I just finished, in an incredible espresso brown leather called "Roadrunner". The leather was milled a bit before cutting to bring out the grain. I am loving this leather. It's got a beautiful hand and very good weight and it works up beautifully.

This jacket was based on a old and much loved & worn, jacket belonging to the customer.

But the original jacket was quite beat up & much too over-sized for his taste & style today so really it was just a jumping off point.

It is lined in a heavy weight cotton sateen in a contrasting khaki and has these wonderful variegated horn buttons as well as two large outside pockets and 3 interior pockets, 2 at chest level and a special semi- hidden card pocket.

Custom Leather Jacket-Front

Custom Leather Jacket-Back

Custom Leather Jacket-Detail

Custom Leather Jacket-Detail

Custom Leather Jacket-Detail

Custom Leather Jacket-Detail

Custom Made Mens Leather Jacket I am thrilled with the way it came out. It looks great on him, suits him perfectly & and should last him forever! ... Drat, did I just lose another customer!?



I saw Inglourous Basterds last night. I wasn't originally planning to - but after seeing it mentioned on 2 of my favorite blogs, here & here, both of them highlighting the costumes, well... (like I said, I'm a sucker for costumes) I really enjoyed it.

QT has a shoe fetish, and with such great shoes, who wouldn't?

... and of course the leather...

(I must admit, though, after 'Grindhouse' I was a bit apprehensive - I could not stand that movie- dreckola- plus y plus-! I had to force myself to be polite & not ditch my friend in the theater!)

Anyone else see the huge "Brazil" influence in this film? Between the costumes, the mores, & the buffoonish portrayal of so many of the Nazis?

I do hope we will be seeing a lot more of Mélanie Laurent & Christoph Waltz in films here now, they are both tremendous talents.


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