Final Words from Fashion’s First Lady & the Magic you Missed

Great advice is hard to come by. Great advice from an icon and a legend like say, the amazing Ms. Carolina Herrera-well, talk about a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!  The thing about getting great advice is, since it’s not such a common occurrence, I like to take every opportunity I can, to share it. That’s why I’m ever so grateful for the opportunity to be able to share such grand advice, on such a  grand scale.

But first……

One of the hardest truths many of us have had to come to terms with this semester, is that fashion is a very an insanely an outrageously- dare I say, horrendously (you get the picture) competitive business. In this way, the fashion show serves as a mirror of this business, and another tool that the school makes use of to prepare us for, “the real world”.  What sucks most (obviously) about this, is that even some of the most talented people out there aren’t being recognized. For no reason other than there just aren’t enough spots in the show job market (see what I did there!)  That being said, I’d like to take this last opportunity to pay tribute to a few of these people: my classmates. Each one of these people, is a creative genius in her own right-and I have every confidence, that one way or another, they’ll be making a name for themselves. Here’s to you!

Carolina's critique: "This is very sportswear." Truely, a direct representation of what our specialization is all about

Carolina's critique: "This is very sportswear." Truly, a direct representation of what our specialization is all about

The judges weren't feelin' capes this year, but wow, was this piece a stunner

The judges weren't feelin' capes this year, but wow, was this piece a stunner

My critique: "Lady Gaga would totally rock this!" Great shoulder detail.

My critique: "Lady Gaga would totally rock this!" Great shoulder detail. Also, kudos to anyone bold and brave enough to make a leather dress.

Wait until you see the back of this rockin' 4 pc ensemble....

Wait until you see the back of this rockin' 4 pc ensemble....

... See what I mean? How's that song go? "Gimme a cape with hair..."

... See what I mean? How's that song go? "Gimme a cape with hair..."

For anyone who thinks making a cape is easy, I dare you to reproduce this one. Fair warning: you can't drape like this girl can.

For anyone who thinks making a cape is easy, I dare you to reproduce this one. Fair warning: you can't drape like this girl can.

Money! Yay!!

Money! Yay!!

What’s next on the horizon for me, you wonder? Well, aside from having just blown my fabulous Cotton Inc. check on Muse tickets, (Yay, money!) I’m pleased to reveal this exclusive bit of exciting news: I’ve contributed two new styles to a popular clothing company (original info removed at company’s request 8.12.10). It’s something a little different… but the buyers coming in seem pretty pleased. (so am I! Yay, I’m a designer!) I’m looking forward to walking into a store and seeing my work on the racks. (note to self: make small version for Li’l Humphrey!) (content removed 8.12.10)!

Now then. Don’t let her perfect appearance intimidate you. Along with being one of the most elegant and regal women in the world, she is hands down one of the nicest, warmest, most charming….the epitome of loveliness; and I had the very rare and outstanding honor indeed, of having her as my critic.  As you continue to marvel at a few choice uh… fashion show “deleted scenes,” let Carolina’s wonderful words of wisdom (I love alliteration) for the world of fashion students and wannabe designers ring in your ears…. Oh! As for my epic last words…. It’s been an adventure, you guys. I think I’ll take a nap now.

Fin

(originally published 4.30.10 @7:52 pm)

How to be a Gracious Loser, and Other Things I Don’t Know

Dear Sportswear Trackers,

Where the f- did we go wrong?

…..”I rather not be in the show with the rest of you guys than to be in the show without you”, I overhear one friend of mine sharing with some others.  That is loyalty. That is a friend. That is…complete and utter crap.

We’re all friends here, and we all recognize each others talents, which made Friday’s grand announcement doubly difficult to digest. For many of us, we have to get over both the shock and disappointment of our own rejection and that of our brilliant classmates. Indeed there were many exchanges of

The Rejects. Boo....hiss....boo!!!!

The Rejects. Boo....hiss....boo!!!! So my crocheting's a little wonky, but oh my cotton-my glorious cotton!!

“I thought for sure you were going to get in,”

“I don’t get it, your stuff is amazing,”

“You?! You didn’t?! No way, no way”

and the still lingering consensus of:

“Why?….why……?”

and my personal favorite:

“This….is some….bulls—“

Even Lil’ Humphrey still can’t believe his little monkey ears. He had his favorites like the rest of us. (Mine included, of course. Also, he did help out at some point so he’s taking this rather personally).

Look at him. He's taking it so hard.

Look at him. He's taking it so hard.

I can’t help but take it personally. I understand that design is subjective but it’s not like there were only 3 judges. And people like those on our panel–professionals held in high regard in their prospective industries– well, wouldn’t I want to appeal to their tastes in the first place? So why feed me crap about how this decision has no reflection on how good I am as a designer? No, it doesn’t mean that I’m a bad one. I know that I’m not and not everyone can be in the show. In fact, many of the people that were cut, I thought to be brilliant, shining examples of what the “Future of Fashion” is really all about. So, no, not getting into the show doesn’t make me a bad designer– I happen to think I’m a very good one–but it tells me that I’m just not good enough. They only wanted the best. So I’m not the best….and isn’t that what we all want to be?

Both looks w/o their perspective outerwear on. Chic, classic, understated elegance...me.

Both looks w/o their perspective outerwear on. Chic, classic, understated elegance...me.

Look 2 with look 1's sleeveless jacket. The whole point of a Sportswear Collection to me, is that all the pieces work with eachother.

Look 2 with look 1's sleeveless jacket. The whole point of a Sportswear Collection to me, is that all the pieces work with eachother.

Frontal view of my Cotton Inc. Garment. I thought for sure it would get in.

Frontal view of my Cotton Inc. Garment. I thought for sure it would get in.

Back view. It's a mercerized cotton jersey top with cotton voile binding. Bindings on knits...give me something for even braving this.

Back view. It's a mercerized cotton jersey top with cotton voile binding. Bindings on knits...give me something for even braving this.

The "multi-top". It's one of my signatures, being able to change the garment. I made it reversible with a layered look. Here it's even on backwards as a boatneck.

The "multi-top". It's one of my signatures, being able to change the garment. I made it reversible with a layered look. Here it's even on backwards as a boatneck.

The Cape Saga Pt. III: Equal Opportunity Fabricator

Ah Sportswear! My favorite thing about it is that it’s the “all-inclusive” specialization.  Wouldn’t  you agree? You can incorporate a bit of every other track, style-, technique-, construction- and fabrication-wise…and you’d better believe I take full advantage of this fact. Case in point: We last left off with my ongoing battle with chiffon (may it forever burn in a fiery, fiery fabric hell).  Now then, the two layers of chiffon really serve as a lining for the cape, as well as to add comfort and visual interest. The shell fabric of the cape is none other than this crazy-looking knit!  It’s got a nice open weave so surprise–you’ll be seeing the chiffon peaking through!

The Cape Saga Pt. II: The Coolest Thing Ever Done With Chiffon…EVER*

The readers have spoken…

I'm writing, Lil' Humphrey, I'm writing! He can hardly contain himself.

I'm writing, Lil' Humphrey, I'm writing! He can hardly contain himself.

and I have responded! Fasten your seat belts folks, it’s time for another installment of the juicy, the sexy, the riveting, the awe-inspiring, soon-to-be-bestseller-thanks-in-large-part-to-teenage-girls-everywhere…The Twilight Cape Saga! I’m sure you’ve all been waiting as eagerly as my new pal, Lil’ Humphrey. (more on him in a later post) so let me not keep you any longer.

Onward to the gut-wrenching epic tale of woman vs fabric.

Cutting the chiffon was just the beginning. I knew I was in for a ride-and what a wild ride it was! Let’s take a gander at some of the highlights:

untitled-0-00-10-05-1

What do you mean, you didn't finish reading that article?! Ooops!

1. Time for everyone’s favorite technique.  Yes, that’s right: sewing to paper!

Now, some of you might be wondering, “is this really necessary? ” and to that I say, no. That’s right, you don’t have to do it at all….if you’re not worried about running the serious risk  of having your fabric:

-torn

-snagged

-uglified

-sucked into a vast gaping vortex of death…kind of like this:

untitled-0-00-08-04

The presser foot hovers anxiously above the whirlpool, praying it will not be next...

Observe, this oh-so-haunting photo with it’s poor focus artistic blur,  and the eerie diffused ghost-like glow emanating from the dark depths of th- okay, you get it. This is what you don’t want. Jeeze, the things I do to make a point. Are we clear? Paper is your friend.

untitled-0-00-00-21 2. To quote the famed line from Hamlet, “to pearl or not to pearl…” Okay, that might’ve been slightly altered from the original and… not as profound but, work with me. I do think it can be a nice finish on things but I’ve just never thought of a pearl finish as, uh, “sportswear-y”. Know what I mean? Anyway, I figured I’d try it out and see if my mind changed.

My cape has two layers of chiffon so I tried to baby hem one (turn it up the tiniest bit to stitch), which looked amazing until….it didn’t. And then pearl the other.  Then genius struck me. Dare I marry the two?!?!?!  Muah, ha, ha! To my knowledge this is a sportswear first (I’m not that knowledgeable). What I’ve settled on doing is actually turning up up my pearled hem and stitching it that way. Take that, demon textile! And more, for I could not simply be satisfied with taming the mighty beast-oh no. I did not claim a true victory until I had beat, beat, beat it into a bloody submission. And so it was, the wheels of my ingenious mind kept turning and turning until at long last….Eureka!!

3. The original design of my cape had a front panel that was meant to be a rib. Alas:

-I couldn’t find what I needed ready-made and affordable ($59.99 a yard for a rib knit? Surely, you jest?), and,

-though I had planned on doing a lot of my own knitting (GASP!), I’ve recently moved but my machine-knitting tools didn’t come with. Also,

-It would take me FOR-EV-ER to do it by hand. Man, it’s a good thing I don’t even know how!

-Crochet, on the other hand, I can do; but where to find matching…. ::::eyes pile of fabric and light bulb goes on:::…..yarn….????

The fabric never saw me coming….

Prepare to witness a momentous occasion folks. At least it was for me anyway. It’s something I’ve only ever dreamed of doing, and here was my opportunity. Follow along and prepare to be amazed.

The bane of my existance...glad I'm not in Eveningwear with all the skilled people...

That ol' familiar fabric + "the holy grail of scissors"=

untitled-0-00-00-061

......One long continuous strip + (WAIT FOR IT!!!!) CROCHET HOOK (?????)=

Whah, bam, thank you Ma'am!

Whah, bam, thank you Ma'am!



The CliffsNotes version of the point of this whole post. Any Questions?

The CliffsNotes version of the point of this whole post. Any Questions?

*Alternate titles for this post: “Say my Name, Chiffon. Say it!!!!,” and  “How I Kicked Chiffon’s A- and Made it my B-” …just something to think about…

Now sing it with me guys, “follow the yellow silk road…”

The Cape Saga Pt. I: The Trouble with Chiffon

The bane of my existance...glad I'm not in Eveningwear with all the skilled people...

The bane of my existence...glad I'm not in Eveningwear with all the skilled people...

Dear Chiffon,

I hate you.

-Yissel

*********

Working with Chiffon is bittersweet.

Yes, it looks beautiful in a garment, all flowing, layered, ruffled, gathered, maybe even fluted… A+ on the finished product every time, but boy…little does the average person know how much actual work is involved when you’re working with the stuff. I mean, if you want it to look as nice as possible. Let me show what I mean….

1) For starters, I can’t simply lay my fabric out,  lay my pattern over it and cut, the way I did with the pants in my first post. Yes, we’ve reached the groaning portion of the post. Welcome everyone’s favorite technique: Cutting to paper! YAY (Ugh)!  What we’d normally do in this situation is lay a big sheet of pattern paper under the chiffon and lay the pattern on top, pin the crap out of it and THEN cut. Why? Because chiffon is a slippery little b– uh… thing. You’re not even supposed to cut multiple layers at a time-but I said to heck with that as you’ll soon see*.

Problem: Was working at home and forgot my pattern paper.

Solution: A little ingenuity, a lot of pins, and the sports section….

Ooooh...it looks like a print! Alas, it's just a week-old free paper

Ooooh...it looks like a print! Alas, it's just a week-old free paper

Ahhh, 0ne hour, 8 spreads, 30 pins and a few choice curse words later, I managed to prep my fabric and pattern for cutting.

And what a simple, yet ingenious  piece of pattering marvel it is!!! Behold, the beginnings of what is to be a very elegant cape. What makes me so clever you ask? Well, not only have I *sandwiched my [news]paper between 4 (that’s right) layers of chiffon, but I’ve layed my pattern out and designed it so that the back is on the fold and the front on the selvage! Yes! Less seam finishes for me!

Side note: Capes: They’re great. In a future post I’ll be discussing the fact that all the cool kids are makin’ ’em. (at least in my class anyway)

Now I just need to iron my actual paper pattern...joy

Now I just need to iron my actual paper pattern...joy

Yes, my phone does in fact read "1:12 AM." Good times...

Yes, my phone does in fact read "1:12 AM." Good times...

2)Enter: New Problem. Good design students and crafters alike have more than one pair of scissors. For the most part, everyone has about two: one for paper and one for fabric. Aaaah, you see where I’m going with this?

Presumably, majority might vote for the fabric scissors but…to sully my sexy sheers? Cripple my classy cutters? …F– up my fancy forbici (Italian for “scissors”)?!?!

What’s a girl to do? (Other than give away free advertising for ghinger?)

Note: In the industry, they’d lay this stuff out like 100-pile high, let it rest over night, then cut it with a laser. A friggin’ LASER. How do I get my hands on a laser?

Good scissors are an investment

Good scissors are an investment

The Age-Old Dilema: Fabric or Paper scissors? Fabric! Paper! Fabric! Paper.... It's too much!!!!

The Age-Old Dilema: Fabric or Paper scissors? Fabric! Paper! Fabric! Paper.... It's too much!!!!

Solution: Started with the paper scissors, then shunned them to the bottom of the toolbox after the shoddy job they did and regrettably switched to my fabric ones, which performed beautifully, only after I promised them they would be getting a top notch sharpening to make up for the abuse.  (I wont even show you the horrible job the other pair did. It’s just vulgar)

Voila!  Part one of the nightmare is finally over. Tune in for part II of “The Cape Saga.” When I go over having to sew this crap lovely, lovely fabric. ;-)

Genius idea for the future: Cut the cape out of super hero comic books!

Genius idea for the future: Cut the cape out of super hero comic books!