Sunday, 16 November 2014

1970s Innovators: Clark,Birtwell and Halston

This is who I mentioned in class: Ossie Clark, Celia BirtwellOssie Clark and Celia Birtwell: Husband and Wife duo Clark and Birtwell brought the art and fashion world together in the 1970s. Due to their divorce in 1974 their career was short lived and often unappreciated but this pair were at the heart of the 70s bohemian movement. As an artist Celia Birtwell would produce textile designs inspired by art deco floral patterns and Clark would then create garments from them. He perfected the midi and maxi lengths of the time producing Birtwell's artwork in evening dresses, as sleeve features or as overdresses. Clark's free flowing cutting style was developed from his fascination with the 1930s bias cut which he reintroduced to the fashion world. The Hippie look could be achieved with his puffed out sleeves, narrow cuffs and chiffon trouser suits. Birtwell's bold patterns and colours created unique pieces of fashion artwork. The amalgamation of exquisite tailoring and unique artistic ability created iconic 70s style.
ossie clark

1969 Ossie Clark fashion
Roy Halston Frowick: Capitulated to stardom when he designed Jackie Kennedy's iconic pill box hat for John's inauguration. (He reportedly fitted it to himself because they wore the same hat size). Made simple chic.Roy Halston: Halston constructed the slender sex appeal of 70s fashion. He aimed to promote a modern silhouette by introducing the use of synthetic fabrics in high end fashion. Beginning as a Milliner in Bergdorf and Goodman catering to the rich and famous Halston established a star studded fashion flock. His sheep included Bianca Jagger, Liza Minnelli and Elizabeth Taylor . He was a permanent fixture on the disco scene during the 70s spending time with his clients in Studio 54. Halston became the U.S's first star dresser, he possessed an ability to tend to women's fashion needs, emphasizing their assets and masking weaknesses. He released collections that featured casual cashmere dresses and slender pantsuits. Perhaps his greatest success was his development of the shirt dress using Ultrasuede a synthetic mix of polyester and polyurethane. He preserved the luxurious simplicity of 1970s fashion. Halston,1970s

Thursday, 13 November 2014

1970s: Style Features and Fabrics

Another group of fashion anarchists in the 70s was Punks.  Rebellion was at the very heart of the punk trend. Invented by Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood the pair were inspired by elements of bondage gear like rubber and leather studs which they sold from their shop 'SEX' in the Kings Road Emporium. The pair spawned Kings Road as a fashion capital in its own right. Along with the traditional  components of bondage they combined the look with muslin and cotton t-shirts, vests and drain pipe jeans which were de-constructed and ripped then pinned back together to form a new silhouette. Tartan and leather were key elements of the trend. Malcolm McLaren began managing the Sex Pistols which combined with Westwood's fashion revolution secured Punk as not only a trend but a lifestyle during the 1970s. The Punk trend was a shock to the system of the fashion world and created a tsunami of trends featuring punk elements and fabrics which was seen in the A/W 2013 Tartan trend. Disobedience was the height of fashion.
 Sid Vicious & Johnny Rotten - Sex Pistols - 80s inspiration for CATs Vintage - 1980s style - fashion

Across the Atlantic something big was dancing its way around New York.  The Disco look was sophisticated and alternative.  The Disco crowd were disaffected by the destructive forces of crime and drugs devastating the streets of New York and partied harder in west 54th Street's Studio 54. To make the exclusive guest list the disco look was essential.  Leotards, metallic vests and dresses, high waisted spandex trousers, jumpsuits, footless tights with leg warmers and anything sequinned were staple wardrobe pieces. Preferred fabrics were satin, lamé, polyester, velour, Lurex and spandex. Bianca Jagger became an icon of the disco trend. The slim line silhouette of disco was achieved using fabrics like silk jersey and crepe de chine which fell from the body in fluid shapes. Disco was the last iconic look of the 1970s and brought the most revolutionary decade in fashion to a close. 

Monday, 20 October 2014

1970s: Style Features and Fabrics

HippieWhen forecasting the 70s era Vogue announced, 'There are no rules in the fashion game now. You're playing it and you make up the game as you go, [...] you write your own etiquette. Express yourself.' Women were dressing for themselves. Styles had no limitations and women were ready to express this freedom. The emergence of prêt-a-porter meant catwalks were no longer the only source for fashion trends. While synthetic fabrics were growing in popularity so were organic silks and cottons creating a plethora of iconic and contrasting 70s looks. Most significant characters were the Hippie, the Punk and the Disco Queen. Women were taking fashion in all directions and finding new ways to embrace their femininity.

photograph by david hewison the gentle-gypsies june 1970
Boho enthusiasts of the 1970s sported long lean silhouettes guided by the ethnic fashion movement. To achieve the gypsy look floor length chiffon dresses were worn off the shoulder with clog style shoes adapted from the Scandinavian folkloric romanticism which the movement longed for. Crochet ponchos and dresses displayed the appreciation of traditional craft and the boho dream of 'Back to Nature' fashion supported by designers like Bill Gibb. Hand dyed fabrics from India and embellished fabrics from Greece filled the 70s era with exotic colours and intricate craftsmanship. Afghan Coats made from sheep or goatskin became key pieces in any hippies' wardrobe. They became a uniform for the campaigning, peace-loving and protesting individuals that fought for change during the 70s. Gunilla Lindblad photographed by Zachariasen for Vogue, 1970.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Back to Reality: 1970s Fashion

Finally feeling recovered after the Wedding Journal final and getting stuck in to college work again. finding designing collections a lot more challenging than I thought so I've been neglecting my poor little FrockWatch. Fear not, my five decades of fashion continues with an intro to the 1970s and what an exciting fashion era it was. Enjoy!
Ro x

70s supermodel Jerry Hall with big wild hair #1970s #vintage
Jerry Hall
The 1970s was a time of cultural discovery and free expression. Individuals yearned for their own self identity and a more ethnic form of the 60s psychedelic trend. Fashion enthusiasts wanted something organic and wholesome. The politics behind the 'Age of Mass Consumption' which spilled over from the 1960s caused people to become aware of traditional methods of production and invest in them. A campaign sloganed 'Back to Nature' aimed to bring fashion back to its roots. With cheap airfares becoming available people had the ability to experience different cultures and push their fashion boundaries. This cultural awakening is also responsible for the emergence of the punk and disco trend. Led by Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood the outrageous street style of Punk turned the concept of a fashion trend on its head and challenged critics to shut up and deal with it. Meanwhile in New York the disco dance craze was creating trends of its own, Studio 54 its Mecca. The 1970s was a time to be yourself and dress that way.

Hitting their stride in the early 1970′s, Missoni started out as a small knitwear workshop in Gallarate, Italy, in 1953 opened by founders Rosita and Ottavio.
Missoni 1970s 

Sunday, 5 October 2014

And the Winner is.....

I've officially been crowned Wedding Journals Young Designer of the Year 2014. absolutely shocked and delighted to have won with a whopping 25% of all the votes!! hard to believe i've gotten so much support from everyone such a confidence boost so i really can't thank everyone enough!! my little frockwatchers have clearly been busy voting and sharing, thanks you so much this is the kickstart i need for my career what an amazing journey its been,
Ro x

Monday, 29 September 2014

Now a Major Motion Picture

Heres my dress coming down the catwalk at the Dublin show. So proud of my little creation,
keep voting and sharing everyone!! 

Sunday, 28 September 2014

It's the final countdown (literally)

Spent an amazing and very hectic weekend working at the wedding journal show here in dublin. Saw some amazing talent from Irish and international designers, even more spectacular was getting to see my dress on the catwalk alongside their collections! Only 7 days till I travel to Belfast again for the final and discover who the winner is!! Whatever the outcome is I know I won't be at a loss because I've already learned so much from being part of the competition, keep voting and sharing everyone!!!  heres some pictures of the beautiful rosy modelling my dress! Add me on Facebook or Instagram to see her on the catwalk xoxo

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

1950s Innovators: Balenciaga and Chanel

Cristobel Balenciaga: Balenciaga was a fashion anarchist of his time. Having been forced out of Spain during the Spanish Civil war he opened his couture  house in Paris in 1937. He managed to stay in business during the war but soured to fame in the Post war era.  Christian Dior  Himself stated that "Haute couture is like an orchestra, for which only Balenciaga is the conductor. The rest of us are musicians, following the directions that he gives us". His innovation of the female silhouette during the 1950s is amplified by the awe of his peers. Balenciaga is responsible for the Balloon jacket, an O-shaped silhouette which formed a cocoon around the upper body to make the legs and neck appear longer on the figure. His genius also included the baby doll dress and  'sack dress' of 1957, the balloon skirt and his seamless use of kimono sleeves in coats. He manifested the 'Bracelet sleeve' with a seven-eighth length that allowed woman to showcase their jewellery at its finest. Considering the emphasis on the waistline at the time and lack of one in his garments allows his influential position to speak for itself.Iconic:  Balenciaga for the 1950 September Issue of Vogue.  Photographed by Irving Penn

Gabriel 'Coco' Chanel:  Chanel's fame was unaffected during World War II however their famous headquarters at 31 Rue de Cambon closed when Germany invaded France. This left Chanel with the opportunity for a post war revival upon their return to the market. Chanel detested Dior's new look which brought back the necessity for a corset which she had worked so hard to abolish in the 1930s. Chanel was provoked in to action arguing 'There are too many men in this business, they don't know how to make clothes for women. How can a woman wear a dress that's cut so she can't lift up her arm to pick up the telephone?'.She was willing to fight to salvage the new woman she had laboured as her own. This struggle brought about the invention of the Chanel suit, an iconic piece of fashion history. Her winter 1954 collection saw her rework the Chanel tweed in the form of a timeless female suit. The slim skirt and collarless jacket oozed femininity, a gold chain was sewn in to the jacket hem to create a fluid line from the shoulder. The uniform for the emerging working woman was born. 
Chanel Suit 1958

Chanel Suit AW 2014

Saturday, 20 September 2014

1950s Innovators: Dior and Givenchy

Christian Dior: Dior set the scene for the 1950s fashion world. On February 12th 1947 Dior sent out invitations to the showcase of his new collection and let loose a fashion sensation. The 'Corolle' collection (so-called after the delicate petals at a flowers centre) was luxurious, romantic and abundant in fabric. It held no attributes of wartime rationing or improvising and brought femininity back to wardrobes exhausted by the war. Dior wanted to "make elegant woman more beautiful and Beautiful woman more elegant" sighting that "Europe had enough of falling bombs, now it wants to set off fireworks". Dior himself started the celebrations with his new silhouette, sloping shoulders, narrow waists and full hips. His romantic feminine image was achieved with corsets called 'Waspies' and skirts stuffed with petticoats. His collections aimed to surprise and please inventing the A-Line silhouette with its triangle shape and the H-Line silhouette with its slim jacket-skirt combination. Dior's legacy includes the Coolie hat, Trapeze coat and the Hobble skirt. Even in todays fashion world Dior is synonymous with elegance and innovation.

Hubert de Givenchy:  Givenchy possessed a powerful understanding of fabric  and how to work it to his advantage. It was his mantra that, to make a successful dress the fabric must be handled with the utmost care. He débuted his Parisian fashion house with a collection which included the Bettina blouse. Produced from raw cotton shirting, the blouse that was traditionally for couture fittings became a signature look for his career. Givenchy's clientele included Grace Kelly and Jackie Kennedy but his most successful relationship was with film and fashion icon Audrey Hepburn. Originally hoping to meet  the other 'Miss Hepburn'  -Katherine an unexpected relationship was born between Audrey and Givenchy when they met on the set of Sabrina in 1953. Hepburn felt 'It was though I was born to wear his clothes' and a fabulous fashion pairing began. Givenchy designed the timeless black sheath dress that the actress wore in 'Breakfast at Tiffany's' as well as costumes for her role in 'Sabrina', 'Charade' and 'Funny Face'. Audrey Hepburn became his muse, exclusively wearing his designs both privately and professionally. Givenchy embodies the power of a great fashion partnership in the golden age of couture with his simple black sheath dress selling for $807,000 in 2006.

Thursday, 18 September 2014

1950s: Style Features and Fabrics

Christian Dior 1952 - Peplum with pencil skirtThe 'New Look' of the 1950s brought back the classic female form. Cinched in waistlines and full skirts with petticoats shaped the silhouette of the time. Skirts were made from simple fabric like gingham and printed cotton for daytime and for night-time they featured layers of chiffon or rayon in bold colours like baby blue and lime green. Petticoats were stiffened with starch or a sugar solution to create form and movement under the circle skirts. For a more glamorous look petticoats were made using nylon tulle which gave a softer effect for eveningwear. In contrast to the voluminous circle skirt was the hobble or pencil skirt. A slim straight skirt that featured the tiny waistline but no gathers or pleats, just a simple slit in the back to allow for movement.

Shoes By Roger Vivier (The Creator Of The Stiletto Heel) - 1959  L’Officiel De La Mode - 447-448
Roger Vivier Stilettos
Nylon stockings were returned to woman's drawers having been diverted in production to assist the war effort. Their demand sky rocketed and riots were caused when producers held sales. Woman no longer needed to mimic the leg seam using eye-liner and had their trusty companions back again. The female leg was also to reach new heights in the form of the stiletto heel.  Invented by French shoe designer Roger Vivier the stiletto heel complimented the feminine fashion silhouette perfectly. Ladies were offered lessons in how to walk properly in these steel-strengthened pencil-thin heels.

Super cute 1958 outfits. Love Capri and cigarette pants!1950s Greasers in NYC.. I love it!!!!The freedom of the post-war era stimulated the emerging Youth culture. Teenagers no longer felt the need to do as their parents did and set their own agenda bringing style with them. America led the rest of the teenage world with two dominant figures emerging: the Preppies and the Greasers. A Preppy teen's wardrobe featured Capri pants or pedal pushers, scoop neck blouses, tight sweaters or cardigans and three quarter length sleeved blouses with a neckerchief. The greasers sported denim jeans and leather biker jackets a symbol of rebellion that terrified the older generation. Music and film greatly influenced the fashion of teen culture and the fabrics used in clothing production.

In 1954, Dacron a new "Wonder" material came to the market. It was used for many purposes during the 1950s. Dacron is a man made fabric.
In 1952 acrylic was introduced to clothing production world. Alongside Nylon it was marketed as a 'miracle' fabric that was crease-proof, shrink proof and quick drying. Meanwhile  'drip-dry' nylon and Dacron could retain head-set pleats after washing and became a sensation. Along came Polyester in 1953 offering its ability to keep its shape with an anti-wrinkle quality. The domestic female was given an easier washing load with the introduction of synthetic fabric production and the fashion world never looked back.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

5 Decades of Fashion: 1950s

Dovima, by Richard Avedon, 1950. Cristóbal Balenciaga
Dovima modelling a Balenciaga gown, Perfection
Having overcome World War two the 1950s began on a joyous note. The fashion world emerged victorious and led by Christian Dior's 'New Look' began a fashion revolution and rebirth. Fashion was its own hero, evolving in order to dispel the devastation linked to the 1940s. After the years of rationing and sexless clothing woman had the opportunity to aspire to luxury again. Full circle skirts and cinched in waists gave fashion its femininity back. The 50s can also be seen as a step back for women in some senses. Women had been sent out to work during the war and liberated of their traditional domestic posts. However this rebirth of femininity was so refreshing women fell back in to their domestic positions tempted by the salvation of glamour. Designers showed woman what it was to be stylish and sophisticated again whilst setting a high standard for future decades to follow.
Dior's new look army 

Saturday, 13 September 2014

1930s Innovators: Mainbocher and Coco Chanel

Mainbocher: As the first American Designer to open a couture house in Paris Bocher performed a miracle and shot to fame in the middle of a Depression. Originally from Chicago he had no formal training but became a master of the bias cut accredited by Madeleine Vionnet herself. He began his career as an illustrator for Harper's Bazaar and later became editor of French Vogue before deciding to enter the world of design. Perhaps it was his origins that kept him afloat as his designs were very simple but famously expensive. He designed the wedding dress of Wallis Simpson upon her marriage to King Edward VIII and shot to fame overnight. His business was unaffected by outbreak of World War II and he brought his work back home tom America where a crowd was eagerly awaiting his arrival. His clothes were made almost entirely by hand until Bocher separated from the world of fashion at age 80.

Coco Chanel: Gabrielle Chanel defied the odds as an impoverished orphan to become Coco Chanel an iconic fashion legend. Known as Coco, Chanel introduced the concept of timeless pieces to the fashion world. Working from a palette of mainly beige, black and white Chanel invented the 'little black dress', quilted handbags, the tweed suit and the legendary interlocking double-C of the house of Chanel. Chanel said herself "In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different" which justifies her ignorance of prevailing fashion trends. She shortened hems, abandoned frills and flounces and abolished the use of the corset. She gave woman career wardrobes of shorts and trousers inspired by military uniforms. This new found elegance is ever present today under the guidance of Karl Lagerfeld as head of Chanel who maintains Chanel's Iconic style.

Friday, 12 September 2014

1930s Innovators: Vionnet and Schiaparelli

Madeleine Vionnet: Known as the 'Queen of the bias cut' Vionnet 
reinvented the female form to combine effortless elegance with natural comfort. She had an architectural approach to fashion and discovered that cutting fabric crossways at 45 degrees to the direction of the thread the fabric would flow delicately around the body and follow the body's movements. Vionnet remarked herself that "When a woman smiles, her dress must smile with her". She abhorred the seasonal nature of trends and instead drew inspiration from Grecian legends and folklore which was translated through her free flowing goddess forms. To achieve her classical look Vionnet commissioned fabrics two yards wider than usual. Her preferred fabrics were crepe de chine, charmeuse and silk muslin. Her sculpting qualities were manifested in her use of small dolls to create her designs as oppose to sketches on paper. She preferred to be called a dressmaker than a fashion designer and although she revolutionised the female form she is a relatively disregarded figure in fashion. In comparison to other female designers Madeleine Vionnet is greatly unappreciated in her role as a 20th century fashion innovator. 
Elsa Schiaparelli: Schiaparelli changed the face of fashion by transforming pieces of artwork in to fashion. She blurred the lines between the two industries and presented herself as one of the most extravagant designers of the 20th century. She worked closely with Dadaist and Surrealist artists and experimented with synthetic materials such as latex, cellophane and glass fibre. She was the first designer to use a zipper in an haute couture dress in 1935. Although she was never qualified as a designer her collections were popularised as innovative and unique displays of textile creativity. Schiaparelli viewed fashion as an art form in its own right and inventive names for specific colours which featured in her collection which we use everyday including shocking pink, royal blue, wheat yellow and ice blue. She produced high waist, broad shouldered silhouettes in fabrics exclusively designed for her by artists such as Dalí and Picasso. After the war however Schiaparelli failed to get her career running again and fashion rejected her quirky style.