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Acrylic and fabric tossed and turned undulating and weaved to work together……movement and organic in form, created to represent the fluent nature of water.
And my final swimsuit was a success (could be tidier! but it can always be tidier, unless it’s an haute couture atelier, which, as thriving with creative energy as it is, our studio is not).
I didn’t really go into depth explaining my concept so I’m going to give you a little more insight into it. With strong inspiration from designer Alexander Wang’s street wear aesthetic and an imperative element of luxury for the ‘future’ component of the brief, I came up with the concept: Street Luxe. I wanted to really start exploring and refining my own aesthetic.
Street Luxe – An urban street provocative ideal blended with feminine elegance.
I did some further research to add more meaning to my designs, placing the concept under the notion of a woman’s relationship with fashion. The woman, since the beginning of time, has been associated with fashion and beauty, and always will be. On the one hand she enjoys adorning herself and seeks the attention of men, she takes pleasure in being desired and endeavours to be desirable. And on the other, she is a slave to beauty, she is “required by society to make herself an erotic object” and she cannot escape this stereotype (Simone de Beauvoir in The Second Sex).
Either way women are permanently tied to appearance. This idea of the ‘erotic object’ and being bound works in with the provocation aspect of my concept. When combining this idea with swimwear, a picture forms of an extremely desirable woman, a siren, a mermaid, which also makes reference back to Annette Kellerman and her likeness to a mermaid.
”]This again brings me back to the photo below and this idea of the mermaid and the sea which lead me to ropework in the beginning and also happens to be an emerging trend.
It is not however all seduction and bondage, to align with the brief a certain classic elegance must be achieved. This is where the luxe element comes in. With clean cut lines, silhouettes to suit a variety of body shapes, and of course the use of divine black wool-lycra jersey, a feminine elegance emerges and luxury and street unite.
Ropework also lead me to explore knots and both signify the servitude of women to adornment, beauty and fashion – they’re permanently tied to it, a form of bondage, an erotic object.
And here is one of the finished but I’ll do another blog to show more detail
I haven’t had a chance to get on here! And I have a few more blogs in store. I didn’t delve into much depth with my concept so that’s one thing you can look forward to, this blog I’ll focus on sample review.
The rope was a bit wonky around the knot area so I will have to stitch this down so there are no problems with dressing for parades.
It fit our model very nicely and I was really pleased with it. As you can see I had to change the twist/knot from my original tech drawing, but I do like this far more. The bottom twist was a real challenge and Jillian (our swimwear expert) has suggested rather than stuffing the twist, cut out the wadding in the right shape, to stop the lumpiness, and also to use more layers and denser wadding, so for my final I will to two dense layers with two high loft layers. I also expanded the pattern for the breast cups to give a more ruched effect.
Here is a more detailed picture, and better rope positioning too, though I think I’ll put the rope closer together for the two loops.
Things I had to change:
- Lengthen the bottom twist, make the curve higher, do a better job with the binding
- Add more tension when binding under the bust to give a better fit
- I want to add a rope from back neck to CB of back strap
- Put a top stitch on bottom twist panels
Here is an image of the back
Yes so that was really good being able to see it on someone and I felt quite confident for my final wool swimsuit =)
Toile 1: In a state of stretch naievety, I sewed the first toile with a straight stitch and bagged out seams. Nonetheless, the overall the fit worked well. I did need to recut the ‘sail’ shape though and elasticate the bust and thighs. Although I initially sewed the zulu rope into the panel lines, I decided to hand sew it over the seam in future toiles to avoid too much bulk within the seams.
Sample: For the ‘sail’ I divided the base pattern into segments, which I sewed together. Then I reverse side twin needle stitched along the seam lines. The point at which the ‘sail’ met the left and bust panels was incorrect and I later reworked the pattern to rectify this. The swimsuit also sat a little low on the model’s bust. To reduce gaping at the waist, but avoid obtrusive twin needled elasticating, I had sewn elastic into the bagged out seam of the centre panel. This worked effectively. However, Jillian suggested binding around the edges of the ‘sail’ to prevent the stretch fabric from wrinkling across the body. The elasticating and twin needling at the top of the swimsuit gave a clean, uninterrupted line. However, I decided to bind in future, so that the binding could extend into a strap and provide extra support underneath the decorative zulu knot.
Toile 3: I added height to the bust and therefore needed to widen the dart. Although I attempted binding around the ‘sail’ piece, I felt it was inconsistent with my design concept. The severe edge restricted the free flowing ‘sail’ shape.
Toile 4: This was a very rough unfinished toile to focus on attaining a good fit on the ‘sail’, which wouldn’t gape at the waist or crinkle on the hip. I added a dart to the patern where the fabric is pinned and then pivoted this out.
Toile 5: The main aim of this toile was to perfect my finishes before I made the final garment in wool. My construction method ensures that all seams are internal and no overlocking will be seen (bar the elasticated bottom hem around the thighs). I also wanted to finalise the fit around the waist, which I was happy with. However, the ‘sail’ peak finished too low and I recut the pattern so that it would meet the body.
Sooo… once it was clear what my concept was the next natural progression (for me anyway) was the development of a character. The idea of this woman was something that slowly developed as i researched. This character made it easier to design as i was actually designing for a particular person – similar to the target market but more defined.
It was from knowing all about this fictional character that i had created that enabled me to create a suitable title for the collection. The title combines the fearless, bold and daring characteristics of the character with elegance and divine grace – summing it up in two simple words…..