Wednesday, June 30, 2010

White Hot Leather

White leather has always been a very popular request,  especially for editorial purposes- however, no white leather ever goes out of here unless it is purchased... I never stocked it in my shop for the same reason,  it simply does not get taken care of properly by people unless they have some skin in the game!

Recently I've had more & more customers asking about it & ordering it.  One white project I am working right now on is for an HBO Special right now - when it is closer to air time I will update.  When I work in white the whole studio is given over to it and I dress in white!  (No kidding,  my husband did not recognize me the other day when we met downtown for dinner since I was not in my usual head to toe black!)

I've done white leather stagewear:

here's a white leather wedding dress:

White leather baby bibs (they wipe clean in most cases)
White leather jackets:

& God know what else...

Good white leather when it is tanned must be finished in a dust free environment, it is harder and harder to find white leather that is finished properly - many times you will see,  on smooth white leather, little tiny spots in the finish because of's not in the lot I just got!  It's been ages since I have not had to painstakingly check every skin for these.  Makes me happy.

On the subject of white leather,  I just got photos from a client, (one of my few ladies) of an outfit I made her last year.  She's got star style and confidence and effortlessly carries off  looks much stronger than most people here in NYC would ever attempt! ( pet peeve about NYC- sometimes it feels like everybody wants to fit in - often to the point of blandness... it gets boring.)   Randa's use of accessories is flawless to boot!  I think these photos only give a hint of that.  This is one amazingly turned out woman,  & on an everyday basis!

 "You certainly have my permission to use the photo on whatever you need it for.  Thank you sooooo much!"

I love to see the finished work the way it is worn by the people it's designed for!

Thank you so much to Randa S.  for the photos & permission to post.

Here is the front view:
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Sunday, June 27, 2010

Sharp Dressed Men

After seeing "Jack Taylor of Beverly Hills" I feel inspired…Custom-made Menswear has surreptitiously become my concentration and it's kind of funny.

Many years ago when I was studying costume design, my teacher Jose Varona was looking over my shoulder while I was sketching in class (was it for Eugene Onegin?) and commented on how good I was at designing for men.  He said  he found it unusual,  he felt most of his students preferred designing for women and thought it was much harder to design well for men.

I felt hugely complemented & I liked designing mens costumes, at 14 I wasn't much into ruffles - unless they were Roberto Cappucci type ruffles ("ruffles-on-acid" was how I thought of them- here's a taste!). Do an image search - you will see what I mean- mind altering!!

So I guess I've come full circle.

And with that in mind…Here's the 2nd of a pair of jackets I did recently….

Can you tell I've become bored with the Wedding Dress? :) will get back to it soon!


Jack Taylor of Beverly Hills

Last night I caught a wonderful documentary on an amazing LA based,  bespoke suit maker. 

The documentary, by Cecile Leroy Beauleiu, follows the 60+ year history of the indomitable title character Jack Taylor,  whose beautifully cut and impeccably styled,  custom made suits have graced the bodies of everyone from The Duke of Windsor, Cary Grant, Robert Mitchum, Frank Sinatra, Jack Lemmon and Elvis Presley continuing right up to Jason Schwartzman today.

The man, from what I can tell, is still going strong today at 94... He is truly an inspiration. The love he puts into his work and the pure joy he gets back from it just takes my breath away!

(& here is a wonderful interview from 2002)

Thank You,  Jack Taylor and Cecile Leroy Beauleiu


Sunday, June 13, 2010

Cutwork Linen Wedding Dress, Part 4

Getting down to the wire now!   1 week…. excited!!!   (a little stressed, too many little, time consuming things to do on top of real life)  Dress is done so I am back tracking here- it's all a distant memory so I hope to catch here up sooner rather than later.  
Lace is already applied to backing material, so now the inner workings of the corset and the body start going together.   It's odd construction (ie: nobody does stuff like this anymore- it's closer to couture)  since I don't want any seams in the lace past what is absolutely necessary.  There are quite a few more seams on the inside than the outside which I know will complicate construction down the line. I say screw it...I am more than momentarily sorry later, but I get over it. 

Inside Layer, with corset workings:

 Inside Center Front

Side layer:  lace overlay will continue in one piece from front to side,  hiding the side front seams of the corset.  Side is one layer of cotton with silk overlay- to cut down on weight.  It's about 95 degrees and insanely humid in NYC while working one this dress.
Inside Side Panel-silk basted to cotton-from back

Inner layer and  side layer are attached to bodice layer, turned out, and seams folded and stitched to form casings for last two pieces of front boning. (Oops-forgot some pix here- not sorry)
 Inside & outside together- shown from inside.
I want to use some of the edges in the cutwork-to frame the neck accent & add a little interest, so I have not stitched clear through it, I've allowed little bits of it to poke out framing the neckline:

Cleaned up, trimmed and hand-stitched down:
Maybe a little subtler than I expected, but I like it, these are the sort of little close up details that make things special.

Here you can see the single layer sides extending beyond the edges of the lace medallion- the ace edge  was stitched down with a tiny matching zigzag, trimmed with applique scissors, and the remaining was stitched - by hand,  through the chiffon layer only.  The medallion continues up the shoulder straps - 
without a seam that corresponds to the strap seam on the underlying foundation layer. 

All of this I am doing by gut, I do not know what is going to happen with the skirt or the final fit, since I expect the  fit will be different than fit in muslin and checked at every juncture.  I have not worked in fabric in ages so I don't know what to expect and accommodate for at this point.


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