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Archive for February, 2006


Tuesday, February 28th, 2006

I have requested to look at anything in the modern stores labelled ‘Anonymous’ – with Antonia in the modern stores. Began with a clear slate, no expectations and no idea of what to expect. Although essentially a collection of pieces without labels or known provenance, we came across many pieces with incredible detailing. One piece, which could have only been an Ossie Clark piece, another that might have been a Balenciaga or Givenchy from the 50s.
Vionnet dress
I noticed a complicated gold metal and tulle overlaid dress which looked incredibly like a Vionnet piece – all her typical signature details: I was willing to bet my life that this was a Vionnet. I insisted to Antonia that this was a Vionnet, and my persistence paid off when Antonia on close inspecting of the inside of the garment found a Vionnet label. Wow. We could not believe that this was not noticed before.
Vionnet dress
On closer inspection of the acquisition files later that day, I noticed that the original notes suggested that this might have been a Vionnet, but that there was no real proof of its provenance – that was in 1976. Now we have proved that the V&A have another Vionnet piece on their hands. Thirty years later. Wow!!! Other pieces, which I studied that afternoon with Kate, included a Valentina dress and bolero jacket, expertly cut. Also a series of opera coats.


Monday, February 27th, 2006

Back from Paris and ready to get things moving… Pattern cutting all day. Some good development.


Wednesday, February 22nd, 2006

David and I left on the Eurostar for Paris at 08.12am. In Paris by 12pm. Hooray. Plans to attend Premiere Vision (fabric trade show to conduct fabric research for ‘Le Strange Fruit’) tomorrow and to conduct shop and museum research for the rest of the week. Meeting my friend Illeana who works at Comme des Garcons on Thursday. Home again on the weekend. I love Paris.

PV. Found some excellent fabrics which were rather expensive and many fabrics which required huge metreage. Saw some excellent fabrics with which we can begin to build fabric boards. After a lot of discussion, I feel that David and I have made some good fabric as well as conceptual decisions, but the first move when we get back will be to divide the work into 3 directions.


Tuesday, February 21st, 2006

All day in the stores. Looking at Vionnet pieces in the morning with Vicky. And Charles James and Yuki pieces in the afternoon with Oliver. Some excellent input, but need to digest what I have seen.
Charles James dress
It was exhilarating to go through a box of Vionnet pieces all the way to the bottom of the box, a rarity that even V&A staff seldom enjoy. Analysed in particular a Vionnet sleeve detail, which I had never come across. The Yuki pieces, made almost always of polyester jersey made me realise the strength of simple cutting. Yuki achieves the most interesting drape through the use of rectangular cutting and often very few seams. No tricks at all. Off to Paris tomorrow….


Monday, February 20th, 2006

Studio. Some excellent progress. Somehow I feel like I have rationalised the idea of the jacket as a hard outer container for softer shapes contained within. I think this began after looking at the fruit wrappers. I am excited also by the prospect of the large and clumsy shapes being influenced by a hard graphic, which also seems to have some from exposure to the fruit wrappers and the graphic nature of the Charles James marked up toiles. I like that the jackets are looking rather boxy but at the same time draw on unconventional cutting. For example none have conventional sleeve holes. I am enjoying the idea that the outerwear pieces might draw on rather aggressive detailing such as detailing on the leather biker’s jackets. Not sure how I can rationalise this yet, but David has had some exciting ideas about the direction of the work. As my business partner and creative director behind the future label, I will chat later to discuss this possibility with him.

Tomorrow I will be looking at Vionnet’s cutting techniques about which I already am well versed due to my ongoing curiosity about her cutting. It will be excellent to see some Vionnet pieces for myself. I am rather excited.


Friday, February 17th, 2006

Studio. Derya will be giving me a hand, and it will be good to churn out some very quick jacket ideas which have stemmed from my access to Charles James especially.
Am happy with the confidence with which I have approached the jacket patterns and am happy with some of the half-toile shapes, which we have achieved, in relative speed.


Thursday, February 16th, 2006

Stores again, this time with Jenny Lister. A day for Balenciaga pieces, Charles James and a great 70’s Dior piece which I came across in the acquisition files. The James toiles were an excellent opportunity for me to come to understand the designer’s way of thinking: from his marking up of calico in different colours for weave and weft, to his excellent understanding of structure and construction.


Wednesday, February 15th, 2006

Met with Nicky at the LCF about the possibility of using their digital print studio, however digital print still seems to be rather expensive even at the LCF even with my staff status. Also attended a brief lunch get-together with the LCF Centenary Chair Candidates in the LCF Fashion Space Gallery, only to realise that I still felt like a very new member of research staff and somewhat of an outsider, which will all change as time passes.


Tuesday, February 14th, 2006

Finally met with Abraham Thomas who helped me out with further access within the Word and Images study rooms. Felt like less progress was made today as everything I wanted to see seemed to me to be wrongly catalogued and things that I did get to see seemed irrelevant. Perhaps I need a whole day or week in here and since it is public access, I can access these at any time. Also looked at some fashion drawings, some by Bill Gibb, Zandra Rhodes, Jean Muir, Manolo Blahnik, Victor Steibel, amongst others. Wow, original drawings.
Designer's drawing


Monday, February 13th, 2006

LCF. This week I am anticipating the arrival of my new helper Derya who will be helping me for 4 weeks with patterns and sewing. She is from Berlin and I had been her tutor when she came to the UK as an exchange student. We always had a great rapport and she has a very mature approach to work – her last placement was at the McQueen studio. I installed myself into the Research office interview space for the day to be able to brief some students. I also had a meeting with Anthea Godfrey at the LCF, who is a specialist in embroidery techniques. We spoke about the future of such crafts and ways of finding ways of incorporating such techniques into the project.