Because you can't have depths without surfaces.
Linda Grant, thinking about clothes, books and other matters.

Friday, 25 January 2008

Why Armani is Armani



Jess Cartner-Morley, rounding up this week's couture shows, makes the following observation about Armani.

Giorgio Armani, although a relative newcomer to couture, is no slouch at making women look beautiful - which, after all, is the point here. Hilary Swank, in the front row, was in raptures, and it is easy to see why actors such as Swank and Cate Blanchett - women who play on having hard edges to their personality as well as softness, who have eyes that flicker and watch rather than just flutter beneath false lashes - are drawn to his gowns. The fabrics were pure couture princess: organza, puckered silk, chiffon muslin. But the silhouette, and the lines traced in bugle beads and Swarovski crystals, had a sleek, art deco Savoy-esque elegance.

The intelligent woman who also wishes to look beautiful, who cares about appearances and who understands that the body is not merely a wrap for the mind - the designer who can dress her (or shall we say us) will always outlive his flamboyant rivals .

11 comments:

Phyllis said...

There's that skirt again! This is an even better photo. This would not be that hard to sew. (she says to herself while mentally going through her pattern drafting materials.)

Linda Grant said...

Yes, and if you run it up this weekend you could be ahead of the couture customers. It is a total innovation, no? I have never seen a skirt constructed like this one.

Toby Wollin said...

Phyllis - you and I are sharing brains on this skirt - what a clever way to make that balloon look wearable for the rest of us.(reaching over to pull out my rulers and paper...)

Phyllis said...

I have never seen this detail on a skirt either - on sleeves yes (on 1950's vintage coats) but never a skirt.

This concept is repeated several times in this collection. The soft fold of fabric at the hem tells me the hem band that makes the bubble is a long piece of bias cut fabric folded in half lengthwise and then stitched to the bottom of the skirt. The hem bands probably also have silk organza or silk chiffon underlining’s for extra stability; this would keep the fashion fabric from stretching while walking.

Now what I can't figure out is whether there are two side seams, or one just one back seam. A good rear or side view would tell us that though.

Linda Grant said...

Technical!

Toby Wollin said...

Phyllis - I was going to vote for a curve-shaped piece, cut double and sewn together, but I'm more than willing to try out your thoughts (I bow to your greater experience and eye)on the bias, though. I, too, am wondering about the side seam issue - I am of the opinion that if there were a side seam, it would make a much harder edge for us to see in this photograph - I am going to put my 5-cent bet on one seam, at the back center.
Any recommendations on fabrics?

Toby Wollin said...

Phyllis - one last look...at style.com, for the spring 2008 couture Armani Prive, check out picture 14 of 53 - it's a pearl grey two piece dress with the same skirt. The lighter color gives a much better view, I think, of the construction. Maybe my idea is not so off base, eh?

Phyllis said...

Well, initially I thought the hem band might be a curved piece of fabric, such as you’d see on a contour waistband, but I changed my mind after a quick hem band mock up. A curved piece of a fabric has both a bias and a straight grain, and this would pose a construction problem in attaching the hem band to the skirt, hence the revision to the hem band being a straight length of bias cut fabric.

Armani used several silks & wools, and on #24 maybe even a textured and stiff synthetic. All are very drapey with the exception of #24. I saw silk charmeuse , silk crepe, silk jacquard, silk twill or tropical wool, and thin wool tweed (not a boucle though!) on the suit Linda first showed us. The skirts have a couple of different shapes too: A-line, tulip and almost straight, so I think there may be side seams on some but maybe not on others.

This hem band detail an interesting thing to figure out because it’s a good example of a couture detail that can be replicated, so I think I’ll spend to day drafting this Armani skirt for a doll size dress form and then blog about it on Sewing Divas. I have many more sewist observations to share about this collection, but I don’t want to bogart Linda’s blog!

Linda Grant said...

Not at all, you continue. I am reading it all with baffled fascination.

Phyllis said...

Toby, that's a great example to use! The pinstripe fabric makes it easy to look for the seams (and also to see the bias.) If we go to the runway detail photo of #14 look right below the handbag; the pinstripes form an inverted V-shape right at the hem - that's a seam. And if we go to the backstage photos, there is a shot of this style again (it's 26 of 48); we can see this skirt from the opposite side - that dark vertical line below the models wrist - that's the side seam (and we can also see the pinstripes coming together in that inverted V again.)

So - we know on #14 at least, there are 2 side seams, the hem band has side seams, and both the skirt fabric and the hem band are on the bias.

But what's the order of construction? And I also suspect your're right in the the bias hem band is not folded - it may actually be in two peices, like a facing.

Phyllis said...

Opps - the pinstripe example is #22 in the collection photos, I still agree though with Toby's oberservations on the hem band being cut double like a facing.