Houston Quilt Festival Teaching Schedule

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I have the honor of being selected as an instructor this year (2017) at the Houston International Quilt Festival. This is one of the largest gatherings of industry professionals and quilting fans in the world. I’ve had the privilege of teaching at the show for a few years now, and every year brings new excitement and learning opportunities.

The classes I will be teaching are:


Wednesday, November 1:

Dyeing is Easy! (All day)

This is an all day class where I’ll teach you the foundations of dyeing cotton and silk. The morning will be a lecture presentation, and the afternoon will be interactive demonstrations. If you’ve ever wanted to learn to dye fabric for your own designs, this will be a great way to start.

Thursday, November 2:
Making Molds for Resin Buttons and Charms, (2-5pm)

(Pictures coming soon)

In this class, I will teach you how to make a simple mold to produce your very own resin buttons and charms. Learn about all the tools you’ll need, and how to adapt found objects to fit your embellishment needs. It’s a simple process that yields great results. You’ll leave with a functioning mold and resin samples.

Friday, November 3:
Friday Sampler—Embellished Art Ornaments, (10:00am-noon)

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The Sampler is a great opportunity to learn techniques from several instructors at once. You can float from demonstration to demonstration at your leisure. I will be demonstrating how I make embellished art ornaments. They are great ways to test techniques, use up scraps or decorate for a holiday.

 Friday, November 3:
Lecture—”Wearable Art—My Journey So Far…” , (4-5pm)

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Someone is actually handing me a microphone…
In this lecture/presentation, I’ll talk about the ups and downs of designing and making my wearable art. I find the process to be the most intriguing part of the journey, and that part is often forgotten when observing someone’s work. Join me as I pull back the curtain on my triumphs, troubles and techniques.

I will be adding lots of pictures to my gallery with class demos and samples as it gets closer to festival. Let me know if you have any questions in the comment section.

Report: Spring 2017 Haute Couture

I’m having a difficult time reconciling the recent spring 2017 haute couture collections (hence this post’s tardiness). There’s a bizarre dichotomy happening now that puts me at odds with what couture houses are supposed to stand for, and what they have become. Haute couture has never been about making money, which seems odd considering how much money it costs to produce. Sure, pieces get sold and there is some profit, but ultimately, haute couture is and has always been a money-loser. Design houses make their real money on licensing deals (hand bags, shoes and make-up) because they can be pushed at lower price points to more consumers. Haute couture’s purpose has always been to make special clothes for clients that can afford the exorbitant prices. Contemporary pieces are still hand-made using familiar traditions, but with ready-to-wear production getting better, faster and more detailed, several of the couture collections are beginning to look more and more like clothes that are already hanging on store racks.

Yeah, they’re pretty, but sometimes, that’s all they are.

What’s missing from MANY of the couture collections is fantasy.
This is, of course, my opinion. I neither produce haute couture, nor have to staff a design house. I see the couture collections as brand-building muscle-flexing for the ateliers and partly as entertainment. I can appreciate the workmanship, details and savoir-faire in every piece, even the boring ones, but when it comes down to it, the best collections are the ones that turn heads and have a story to tell. Does it always have to be over the top nonsense? Absolutely not. The beauty of haute couture is the signature it leaves on the house that creates it. Each atelier has voice. It’s how that voice gets interpreted that makes the collection sing.

Having said all that, there were a few collections that make be take notice. Some lean on the side of complacency, others, exuberant liberation. Regardless, each of these collections is exceptional in its delivery and deserves kudos.

Chanel

And the winner of the Most Improved Collection award goes too…
Pale and pastel were the watchwords this season as Lagerfeld softened his touch, and pumped out clothes that were not only beautiful, but felt lighter than seasons past. He’s still obsessed with his lofty plumage, but this season, it was refined and more approachable.Tailoring had a softer edge, and the bead-work, as always, dazzled. Let’s hope this trend continues next season.

Rami Al Ali

With only a handful of pieces, this house showed more established maisons how far clean editing can go. All done in blush and soft metallics, the pieces were worn like pliable sculpture, even when items like simple kimono tops were presented. In one season, this house managed to balance fantasy with wearability in a way that speaks volumes of its maturity.

On Aura Tout Vu

Bizarre clam shell muscle man mise en scene aside, I’m happy to announce that it’s status quo chez Tout Vu. I will always compliment this house on its inspired bead work, and this season was no exception. Working almost exclusively in a palette of black and white, it was impossible to keep up with the mosaic repetitions that adorned most, if not all of the looks that walked out. They kept the cuts clean and, for a change, only resorted to one over the top exit that included molded plastic body casts. This house knows its clients, and with approachable collections like this, are sure to entice more.

Margiela Artisanal

 Galliano continues to refine his taste at Margiela, and the more things change, the more they seem to establish a familiar vocabulary that existed before his appointment, but somehow became louder as he settled in. This season, he blew apart clothes until only the load-bearing seams were left, re-imagined applique in tulle, and layered clothes on the model that suggested they were leaving for far away excursions, and never returning. All brilliant techniques to use, and in some twisted reality I know not of, it all makes sense to the history of the house. Experimentation is the locked door of haute couture, and Galliano is listing to one side from the weight of his key chain.

Stepahne Rolland

Rolland’s signature draping was in full force this season, as it is every season, but this time he played with capturing movement in fabric. Each piece seemed as if the model had just turned or jumped, then the natural flight of the cloth was  frozen in time and rendered immobile, yet still completely wearable. Rolland does clean sophistication well, probably better than any other designer in Paris right now, and as his signature foundations rarely evolve over time, what he does manage to keep fresh are unexpected textile manipulations that feel like soft secrets being whispered to only those willing to listen.

Guo Pei

Over the top, impossible to walk in, jewel encrusted, completely devoid of all reality, and above all, unapologetically decadent…
I have no choice but to hand the season to Guo Pei’s Paris debut.
With pieces that walked like barely-wearable Fabergé eggs, Pei’s collection was forged from lost treasures found in the forgotten armoire of medieval royalty. Impossible textures of hammered gold, pleated fabrics laced with rich embroidery, and under-structures ripped from the sides of Chartres cathedral culminated in a collection that defined everything that is haute couture. Borderline costume? Damn skippy and may I have another please!?!
If haute couture has any future, that future rests on dreamers like Guo Pei. Bravo!

Azulejos

So it’s been a whirlwind last few months.

I started and finished a wearable art project I titled, Azulejos. It was inspired by hand painted Mexican tiles.

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Front

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Back

First things first – I draped and drafted a pattern for the jacket.

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I then cut out a dozen or so paper “snowflakes” that were scanned, cleaned up in Photoshop and finally cut in acetate on my plotter. The acetate gave me a more stable stencil to work with, as the paper would warp after a number of uses. Using 100% cotton, I printed the background colors. I worked with blues and turquoises as the foundation colors because I wanted a nice contrast to the bright centers.

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First step in printing.

I then painted the white spaces with bright oranges, yellows and greens. I wanted a hand touched look to them, so I didn’t get too precious about coloring in the lines. The bright colors mixed with the blues and resulted in various greens and aquas. I didn’t want to do a literal copy of the tiles, so I kept each design as spare as possible. I was more intrigued by the graphic tone of the printing than making them realistic.

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Rinsed and dried.

Each motif was cut apart and bordered with 1/4 inch sashing. Even though the intersections were going to be cut out, I insisted they match perfectly.

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Once I had the yardage I needed, I CUT OUT THE PERFECTLY MATCHED CENTERS!!! and covered them with fusible squares of smaller printed motifs done in bright oranges and yellows, which got satin stitched in matching thread.
Each corner was then beset with a sequin.

Then began the quilting of the jacket body. I kept all the stitching pretty simple as I thought the complexity of the printing demanded it.

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Once all the quilting was done, I worked on embellishing the standing lapels.

I hand appliquéd all the leaves and circles, then chain stitched around each of the leaves and embroidered the veins.. The bias vines were couched in contrast thread, and the shisha mirror work was done by hand and appliqued on. I guess this is a bit odd because I used the appliqué as embellishment AFTER the quilting was done.

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All of the dyes used were ProChemical, I only use Hobbs batting (in this piece it was Theremore) and the only fusible web I use is Misty Fuse. It took me a while to find products that I love and dagnabit, I ain’t changing any time soon!

I did all of the printing, dyeing and embellishing by hand.

SO AFTER ALL OF THAT…

I just found out that this piece took BEST OF SHOW in the
Pacific International Quilt Festival wearable art division!!!

GO TEAM!!

So yeah, I’ve been a little busy. I also have a wedding to go to soon and this guy (points to self) thought it would be a good idea to make a shirt and vest to wear to the event. So that’s kept my idle hands occupied lately. I also started another project that I will reveal in due time. Oh and Houston Quilt Fest is coming up in like two weeks.

OMG SO MUCH TO DO!!!

Questions, comments, concerns?
Let me know in the comment section.

I’m going to be a good boy and TRY to do a round up of what I see at Quilt Fest. I’m not teaching this year, so I’ll have more time to take pics of the quilts and exhibits.

NOW I’M GOING TO TAKE A NAP!

Hand-Dyed Pearl Cotton/ Embroidery Floss Tutorial

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I’ve been wanting to do this tutorial for a while now and FINALLY got around to taking pictures during my process.

If you’ve ever wanted to dye your own embroidery floss or pearl cotton, this is an easy method with great results. I don’t usually dye more than 8 or 10 skeins at a time, so I can control the colors better, but once you get the hang of it, you can probably do a lot more at one time.

Let’s get started!
You will need:

  • White, 100% cotton 6-strand embroidery floss or white, 100% cotton pearl cotton (any size). I personally use DMC because I get good results, but feel free to use any brand you want. For this demo, I’ll be using #5 pearl cotton.
  • MX/Procion dyes. I use ProChemical mainly, but as long as it’s for cellulose fibers, any brand will work.
  • Soda ash. You can get this through any dye seller.
  • Synthrapol for rinsing your hand-dyed coton.
  • Small plastic containers – one for each color.
  • Plastic spoon for mixing – I use plastic baby spoons from the grocery store.
  • Measuring spoons – NEVER user dye utensils for food prep!
  • Measuring cup –  NEVER user dye utensils for food prep!
  • Two quart plastic container
  • Plastic tray or cardboard box lined with a plastic trash bag
  • Old towels
  • Cheap acrylic yarn – Honestly, the cheapest stuff you find on the clearance rack is fine.
  • Cling wrap
  • A couple of cans of vegetables, or two candle sticks, or something that can stand on its own.
  • About a yard of tulle. Use a coupon or get it on sale. Any color will do, but make sure it’s tulle and not netting. Also, avoid the kind with glitter on it.
  • Sewing machine and thread.
  • Apron, rubber/nitrile/dish washing gloves, face mask, eye protection.

 

AS ALWAYS, WHEN WORKING WITH DRY POWDERS AND CHEMICALS, USE A FACE MASK AND EYE PROTECTION.

Also, I work on an old towel when I dye.
It helps to catch drips and makes clean up WAY easier.

Step 1 – Make a skein.

I just wind a length of pearl cotton around my forearm, kinda like winding a garden hose. How long you need the cotton depends on your project. I usually just count 20-25 revolutions around my forearm, but you can do more or less.You can also wrap your skein around two cans or a knitty noddy if you have one.

Step 2 – Tie off your skein.

Using the acrylic yarn, bind your skein at even intervals around the loop – I usually do four. You don’t want the knots too tight or they will act as a resist and you’ll get white spots without dye – unless that’s what you want, then bind away! Just make them loose enough to slide over the surface of the skein.

Step 3 – Soda soak your cotton

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Mix 2 tablespoons of dry soda ash with 1 quart of warm tap water (If you have hard water, use cheap, store-brand distilled water so you don’t have to add a ton of other chemicals) in the 2 quart container. Stir the soda ash until it completely dissolves in the warm water – you’ll know it’s dissolved when the water is slightly milky and you can’t hear any more granules scrape against the bottom of the container. When completely dissolved, place your bound skeins in the solution. Let them soak for at least 15 minutes. SOFTLY agitate them a couple of times during the soaking to make sure they get saturated, but don’t ruin your skein shape.

Step 4 – Make your dye solution

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While your skeins are soaking, measure out about 1 cup of tap water into each of your plastic containers (If you have hard water, use store-brand distilled water so you don’t have to add a ton of other chemicals). The number of containers you use will depend on how many colors you want to dye your cotton. Measure out the desired amount of dry dye powder into the containers. If you want a pale color – use about 1/4 teaspoon, for a medium value – use 1/2 teaspoon, for a dark color – use a teaspoon. Please feel free to experiment with the amount you use. These amounts are not in stone and you can get great results just playing with dye amounts. Using the plastic spoons, thoroughly dissolve the dry powder into the water. When all dye solutions are made, set the containers close together.

Step 5 – Dyeing the cotton

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Remove one skein from the soda soak and wring it out over the 2 quart container. It needs to be damp, so don’t dry it out. Figure out how you want your dye pattern to run (But seriously, don’t over think this, just have fun!) and place a section of the skein in one of the dye containers. With the other containers close by, dip the remaining sections in the other containers. Let the skein rest on the rims of the containers (If you want a solid color, just drop the entire skein in one color bath). You’ll want to soak the skeins for a few minutes – this allows the color to sink into the fiber and travel up to the rim a little bit. you can manipulate the skein as much as you want to get the color blending you desire.

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Once you get the idea, you can start adding more dye containers and more skeins to get a little dye factory going.

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Have fun blending colors and dye patterns. Once you have your set up, leave the skeins to soak for about 10 minutes. Make sure to get enough dye liquid on the parts that are resting on the rims.

Step 6 – Batch setting your cotton

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Once you have the color you want, and they have been soaking for about 10 minutes, carefully transfer each skein to a plastic tray or box with a trash bag lining it. You can slightly squeeze some excess dye liquid out of the skein, but be careful to wipe your glove before moving over to another color of the skein. You can easily transfer color that way.

Lay them down with out them touching each other. When you have all the skeins laid out on the tray, cover the tray with cling wrap. You’ll want the cling wrap to touch the skeins so they don’t dry out. Keeping them moist while the chemical reaction of the dye bonding to the fiber happens is called batch setting. You’ll want to keep them under the cling wrap for an hour, at least. You can keep them batch setting for up to 24 hours if you want, but I never leave them that long. I usually don’t let them batch for longer than 3 hours just because I’m impatient.

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You don’t have to have green cling wrap, I’ve just had this box for like 10 years and NEVER seem to run out of it.

Step 7 – First rinse
After the skeins have batch set, your first rinse will be in the sink. You can get a plastic dishpan and fill it with tap water and do a rinse in that, but you’ll need to change the water every so often. Honestly, I just run the tap with a light stream and rinse under that. You are going to run the skeins, one at a time, under the tap and let the water wash off any excess dye. At this point, you just need to get rid of the bulk of the loose dye. Your water will not run clear at this point, but you will notice that the run-off isn’t as dark as it was when you started. Try squeezing the individual color sections, under the water instead of balling up the skein – this will prevent any back staining of dark colors on light colors. You need to get all the skeins rinsed like this and set them on a towel in single file.

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Once they are all lined up, roll up the towel tightly to get out the bulk of liquid in the skeins. Really squeeze them to get them just damp dry.

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Step 8 – Machine rinse

Lay the tulle on a table. Place a skein on the tulle with some room around it and sandwich in between another layer of tulle. The pictures I have here are just to show you placement, but when you do this, it will be easier to do one at a time. What is happening is that you are making a one time use rinsing bag for the washing machine. The old standard is to use a lingerie bag, but I find that leaves the skein all tangled and matted. This way does use up a little tulle, but ultimately saves you time on rinsing.

You are going to use a long baste on your sewing machine, with any thread you have (this is a great way to use up oddball bobbins). Sew around each skein with just a little wiggle room. You also need to sew down the center of the skein, in the donut hole, so to speak. This prevents the skein from balling up when in the washing machine. This stitching does not have to be pretty, as you can tell in my pictures. You can do individual bags for each color group, but I have never felt the need to. I get great results just lining them up in a  row. You can fill up the width of the tulle with as many skeins as you have.

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Make sure to sew COMPLETELY around each skein, backstitching at the start/stop AND down the center. If there is a little hole between the skeins, the loose end will find its way through it, BELIEVE me!

Once the skeins are secure in their tulle cells, toss that puppy in the washing machine on hot with some Synthrapol (Follow mfg. instructions on your brand of Synthrapol). I usually run my wash cycle twice, on hot. I also do some yardage fabric dyeing and toss that in as well. The tulle casing can take a beating in the machine.

After your preferred washes (Do at least two for good measure, more if you are selling your floss), you can throw the tulle package in the dryer. If you want, you can also hang the skeins to dry. Again, I’m impatient, so in the dryer they go. I use medium heat for a “regular” drying cycle in my machine.

When they come out of the dryer, cut around the tulle cells, being careful to not cut the pearl cotton in the process.

Step 8 – Winding your floss

Place the skein around the two cans of vegetables, keeping the skein taut.

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CAREFULLY cut the acrylic yarn off of the skeins.

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Slowly unwind the skein from the cans as you wind it onto a bobbin or empty spool. I have a die cutter, so I use all these fun die shapes instead of traditional bobbins. You can also just leave it in a skein form if you want.

And there you go.
That’s how I dye my floss/pearl cotton.

Let me know if you try this or have any questions.

 

Haute Couture: Fall 2016

Is it me or is Haute Couture week getting shorter and shorter every season? Yet, I feel they are constantly adding more and more shows.  I dunno..

This, as with the last SEVERAL seasons, has been a bit of a sleeper as far as the WOW factor is concerned. It’s like couture designers just don’t care about making a statement any more. I get that they have to pay the bills with wearable pieces, but at one point, the clientele is going to catch on to the fact that they are showing thirty-thousand dollar jackets that look just like the eight hundred dollar jackets selling in the stores.

There is no life to the collections any more. Even heavy-hitters that used to stun and shock have slipped into repetitive navel-gazing. There used to be an excitement to the couture collections. There used to be a buzz about the clothes. Now-a-days, the press is all about kissing designer ass and who was spotted in the front row. It’s a shame.

Maybe I’m just too hard to please, but for better or worse, here is my take on the Fall 2016 Haute Couture collections.  I’m not doing a turkey list this time because the season was more middle of the road than deep end; however, I have mixed in a few one-liners for your enjoyment.

All pictures are from NowFashion.com.
They have the BEST coverage of all the collections, check them out!

Schiaparelli

Schiaparelli, Couture Collection Fall Winter 2016 in Paris

Billed as an homage to Sciap’s original circus collection, it honestly felt like more of a pastiche. There were the obvious nods to the famous embroideries and motifs, and of course, the beading and embroidery were impeccable, but I can’t help but feel that Guyon (the current head designer) is just going through the motions and is afraid to strike out on his own with the collection. Hopefully he’ll stop rummaging through the archives soon and get down to giving this house its well-deserved update.

On Aura Tout Vu

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When you want to look cute, but also value your personal space.

Like a good sauce, it’s best to let it reduce to bring out its finest flavor. This season, the Vu team did just that. They stuck to their usual, nonsensical whimsy, but in such a low key, the collection almost seemed quiet. Of course there were the usual insane embellishments and textiles (I really want to know what that translucent gray stuff is), but overall it worked. I could do without their obsession with insect legs, but I’m glad to see them still on the calendar and being themselves.

Dior

Dior,Couture,Collection Fall Winter 2016 in Paris

Dear house of Dior, why the Hell are you dragging your feet hiring a new designer? I mean seriously, your ready to wear is more exciting, and that’s not saying much. This collection was so boring and unimaginative, I worry this will be the norm from now on. Hire someone already. It’s really not that difficult. In the meantime, stop pumping out this lifeless crap. Thank you.

Chanel

Chanel Couture Collection, Fall Winter 2016 Fashion Show in Paris

“No no, I WANT the dress to make it look like I’m carrying around a spread-eagle gorilla on my back. It’ll be chic!”

MY GAWD this collection was ugly – horrible cuts, nothing fit and all of the embellishments looked like afterthoughts. I mean, Karl has had some clunkers, but I don’t remember seeing anything this bad in a long time. Save for ONE dress, this season is absolutely forgettable chez Chanel, best to avoid it.

Julien Fournie

Julien Fournié, Couture Collection Fall Winter 2016 in Paris

OK, I’m sold. Yeah, it was a bit obvious, but this season at Fournie was great. Beautifully simple in its delivery, each look had a desirability that screamed elegance. Interesting embellishments, beautiful cuts and even though it was a little on the predictable side, each exit was a class act. Odd that I’m getting excited about a designer actually doing his job correctly, but hey, I’ll take what I can get. Bravo!

Stephane Rolland

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I love it when designers do what they do well. Rolland knows how to sculpt fabric into undulating confections of wearable sculpture better than most designers on the market today. He rarely strays from his beloved black and white, and in any other hands, I would probably call a repetition penalty, but when he works his traditional magic, the delivery is anything but boring. Cool cuts, BEAUTIFUL sheer insets and refined embellishments knock this season out of the park.

J Mendel Couture

J.Mendel Couture Fall Winter 2016 Fashion Show in Paris

And I’m calling this dress the “Landing Strip.”

Pretty weak debut for someone of Mendel’s clout. The guy already designs expensive clothes, what was the point of marking them up further? If you want  an evening look in need of a Brazilian, you should definitely make an appointment for a fitting.

Givenchy

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Well, at least they showed something. Givenchy has been off the calendar for a while now, and I kinda see why. Tisci (the current head designer) is usually a great couture designer. I normally  love what he does,  but this season was, uhh… interesting? Half the lace looked like kitchen curtains and this pleated number is dumpy at best, but overall… oh who am I kidding? It was boring and uninspired. Look, I get that he’s been in ready-to-wear mode for a while now, so I’m going to let it slide, but step it up Ricardo. You’re better than this.

Maison Margiela

Maison Margiela, Fashion Show, Couture Collection Fall Winter, Paris

Maison Margiela, Fashion Show, Couture Collection Fall Winter, Paris

Is it a dress? A blanket? An off-the-shoulder bathrobe? All of the above? Who knows, but that’s kinda the point, huh? Galliano has been at the MM helm for a few seasons now, and manages EVERY DAMN TIME to merge his sensibilities AND that of Margiela’s traditions – confusion, experiment, found-object and history. I honestly think that Galliano getting fired from Dior was the best thing that could have happened to him.  At Dior, he was bound by a legacy of restriction. At MM, the only thing that restricts him is his imagination. Odd, yes, but that’s right in step with the mood of the house.

Elie Saab

Elie Saab, Fashion Show, Couture Fall Winter 2016 in Paris

I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again, Saab is best when he turns to the dark side.  This collection was so deep, rich and mysterious, by the time the blush and nude colors finished the collection, you almost missed them in the darkness. The cuts were experimental for the house, if not grounded in Sabb technique, the embellishments, even though beautifully decadent, were almost architectural, and the styling was clean and classy. It was like fairy land in a black out, and frankly, I hope Saab keeps cutting down the power lines. I have no idea what that means, but whatever, the collection was great.

Gaultier Paris

Jean Paul Gaultier, Couture Collection Fall Winter 2016 in Paris

Well, it was better than last season. Don’t get me wrong, it was a good collection, but JUST good. With a dark forest theme, Gaultier cleaned out his techniques vault and cranked out familiar shapes and embellishments with a modern edge.  There were elements from past shows, like the beautiful, pleated leaves on Chrystelle’s dress that harkened back to the late 80’s/early 90’s, and familiar shapes, like the structured suits of his French can-can collection and the wide brimmed coifs that were direct patterns from his Mongolian travelers collection. It all felt comfortable, but still lacking in forward creativity. There were a few missteps, like those bizarre flaps dangling from the fronts and backs of like 20 looks, but still, there was a richness to the pieces. He could stand to step away from the Grés pleating for a change, but I think this season gave me a little hope for the Gaultier future.

Viktor and Rolf

Viktor&Rolf,Fashion Show, Couture Fall Winter 2016 in Paris

A trip to Goodwill, that’s what I’m calling this collection. That might sound like a bit of an insult, but it really isn’t. The Dutch duo likes to over-explore one theme with their couture collections, and this season they choose weaving as their starting point. Not intricate jacquards or twills, but rather a terribly simple over/under plain weave.  Taking odds and ends off the racks, they cut up then re-weaved mismatched scraps and ribbons to give very simple clothes, VERY artistic textures. They raided the random button jar, and covered every conceivable surface in thousands of the fasteners.  Beautiful tulle layers and blown together embellishments gave this season a welcome uniqueness that their past few collection have been lacking. Overall, a great step forward.

Zuhair Murad.

Zuhair Murad, Couture Collection Fall Winter 2016 in Paris

This guy does embroidered tulle probably better than any other designer working today. I mean, there’s sexy, and then there is Murad sexy. The goofy cowboy hats that adorned 60% of the models were missteps -honestly, they looked like an afterthought, but OMG these were some of the best looking bodices I have seen in a very long time from him, or any other designer.  I’m not sure classy and super sexy belong together, but if they do Zuhair’s got it all sewn up.

Valentino

Valentino-Couture-FW16-Paris

OMG PLEASE MAKE ANOTHER DRESS PATTERN ALREADY!! WHO NEEDS THIS MANY OF THAT ONE CUT OMG PLEASE?!?!! Now that that’s out of the way, this collection was rich in it its simplicity. A romp through the middle ages cum Renaissance, there were high, ruffled collars, doublet bodices and plenty of restrained elegance to pass around the medieval banquet hall. Revolutionary? Not at all, but there was such a fine, edited eye placed on this collection, I was forced to acknowledge it. The design duo that heads up Valentino does one thing VERY well, they design a collection.  Yes, they can repeat cuts ad nauseam, but they are so damn good at editing and staying true to the house’s objectives that, even though I hound them, I secretly respect them for what they are doing. SHHHHH! DON’T TELL NOBODY, Y’ALL!!! In conclusion, I hate it all and love it at the same time.

Armani Privé

Giorgio Armani Prive, Fashion Show, Couture Fall Winter 2016 in Paris

Giorgio Armani Prive, Fashion Show, Couture Fall Winter 2016 in Paris

WHO’S THE LEADER OF THE CLUB THAT’S MADE FOR YOU AND ME? M-I-C…  Oooohh, you know the rest!

As usual, Armani put me to sleep, and as usual, I’ve given up caring. The same old, same old per Girogio; I honestly wonder how he stays in business cranking out clothes that look JUST LIKE his ready to wear collection. Oh well, I’m going back to sleep. G’nite.

Alexandre Vauthier

Alexandre Vauthier, Fashion Show, Couture Fall Winter 2016 in Paris

Normally I ignore this house. I mean, it’s got its moments, but over all, it’s just sexy, rock-chick clothes; however, this season saw a slight bit of refinement, and that was worth noticing. Yeah, there were the usual “up to there” splits and sex-kitten cuts, but maybe, juuuust maybe, Vauthier is cleaning up his act. I don’t need him to clean it all up, I mean, sex pays the bills, but little numbers like this go a LONG way to showing customers that naughty can be refined.

Adeline André

Adeline André Fashion Show, Couture Collection Fall Winter 2016 in Paris

In the year 3562, this is what doctors will wear into surgery.

Let’s face it; André has been doing the same thing for decades now. And by “doing the same thing,” I literally mean DOING THE SAME THING. You could pull a look from her first season and mix it within the lineup from the current season, and you would have NO idea that it was from the archives.  She refuses to stray from her path, and that is her strongest attribute. It is platonic and clean to the point you wonder how she’s stayed in business for so long? Yup, but within that, you have to admit that her body of work looks nothing like anything else on the couture runways, and for that stick-with-it-ness, I applaud her.

Ulyana Sergeenko

Ulyana Sergeenko, Fashion Show, Couture Fall Winter 2016 in Paris

When you get dressed in the dark, but still have to ride your moped to work.

I mean, yeah, I don’t know why I ever expect this collection to make ANY sense, but here we are. It was bonkers, as usual, and I’m just so very tired of that. The clothes are ugly, the styling is goofy as Hell and none of it makes a lick of sense. Sequined bathrobe? Check. Bodysuit? Check. Dad’s shoes? Check. Goofy-ass garter belt with matching tights? THAT’S A BIG OL’ CHECK! This is what an unstable old lady wears to the grocery store when she runs out of her medication. Only I know the old lady didn’t have to drop the better part of 40,000 dollars to buy it.

Atelier Versace

Versace Atelier, Fashion Show, Couture Fall Winter 2016 in Paris

This collection is difficult for me because I’m totally on the fence with it. On one hand, I applaud Donatella’s experimentation with the draping and the cuts, on the other hand, it all felt a little too derivative of other designers’ work.  I mean, if you told me Haider Ackerman had taken over the house, I honestly would have believed it. There were some beautiful pieces, like the one pictured, where the house nailed it, but others just felt rushed and unfinished. I dunno, I’m giving it to Versace for the step forward, but maybe refine and edit the collection a bit more in the future.

OK, that wraps up the season for me.

I’m going to be working on some showpieces and will update you all with progress pics as soon as I make some progress.

Toodles!

Updates, updates, updates!

And so I’m back, from outer space…

OMG where has the time gone?
I’ve been so insanely busy, this blog has become a bit of an afterthought.
Sorry about that…

Here are some updates on the Gilbert front:

I wrote an article for Threads magazine!

GO TEAM!

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If you have ever wanted to try cowboy pockets, now’s your chance.
I break it down into simple steps to get great results every time.
Check out the latest issue, on newsstands now!
Newsstands? Do those still exist?
Well, I know you can get a copy online, and Joann’s stores across the country carry them, so go grab one! It’s loaded with a ton of good tips and techniques.

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If you check it out and have any questions, just drop me a line here and I’ll try to help.

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I’m going to be teaching in San Antonio this coming weekend. I will doing a couple of workshops for the Fiber Artists of San Antonio. We’ll be screen printing and learning shisha embroidery. I’ll also be giving a lecture on my creative process.
I don’t know how running around and panicking like a chicken with its head cut off translates into a process, but anyhoo.

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I’ve started a couple of new projects for some upcoming competitions -I’ll be making some garments, of course.

It’s all sill on the sewing machine, but here is a sneak peak of one of the pieces.
It’s a tailored jacket with a dramatic, standing collar.

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Here is the muslin for the jacket. It meets in the center and has a kimono sleeve.

The fabric for the piece, all hand-screen printed:

Here are some of the assembled blocks:

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And here is a sample of the un-sewn center medallion:

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It will all be quilted and embellished within an inch of its life, hopefully.

The other piece is still, in pieces. I can tell you that it will be a mix of my recent indigo experiments. It’s more involved than the printed piece, so here’s hoping I don’t lose my mind in the next two months. *clinks glasses*

OK, that’s it for now.

Couture week is going on and I plan on doing a best/worst list soon.

Cheers!