PART 1 - RESEARCH
On Aura Tout Vu Spring 2012 (above)
Interesting to see the distortion of the fabric volume around the shoulder blades. In many ways the piece resembles a classic blazer, such as the one I will be using, however by manipulating certain areas, the final effect is unlike a generic tailored jacket.
'There are many theories as to the origin of the jacket known as a blazer.
In 1837 the young Queen Victoria was due to inspect the frigate HMS Blazer. The crew were rather unsightly and the commander decided to have the crew wearing a short jacket with brass buttons. The Queen was so impressed she required all the Queens’ sailors to wear a similar uniform.
Another theory is the term derived from the 19th century British nobility who ‘emblazoned’ their jackets with family, school or club badges.
Yet another legend is that the oarsmen of the Lady Margaret Boat Club from St John’s College at Cambridge University wore red stripe jackets and they were ‘ablaze’ in the water.
The wearing of a blazer was to show that the wearer was part of a group such as a school, university, sports club or indeed any organisation that displayed its uniform and corporate identity.
The original blazers were in a striped material that included the colours that represented the club, school, family etc. Later on blazers were made in either a double or single breasted style with a badge on the left breast pocket.
The blazer would have been made in navy wool serge with metal buttons that could incorporate the crest of the club.'
PART 3 - TWO JACKETS
Combining mine and my partners jackets allowed me to see what an extra length of fabric would add to the process. While I enjoyed modelling these new and entirely different styles, I did feel that the essence of the jacket was lost to swathes of material. This is not necessarily a bad thing, as I by no means wanted to simply recreate a standard jacket. However I did want to preserve a tailored fit, or some nod to the piece it once was. This had me doubting the success of using fabric as my second material.
PART 5 - SECOND FABRIC
Still undecided on my secondary fabric, I chose to further experiment with a knitted rag cloth I had found in the college shop. I had found the contrast between this loose knit, drape fabric and the structured and tightly woven blazer material both interesting and beautiful, and wanted to find ways of tying the two together. I had secured the shape that I had created during my further modelling, so that I would be able to further develop this, and experiment with its position on the body. This meant that my modelling process did not start from nothing as it had done on Monday; I now had some working design ideas that I was able to develop further. I particularly liked the effect of ‘building up’ the silhouette through shapes from the stiff blazer fabric, and letting the knitted rag drape down, perfectly contradicting one another.
PART 7 - FURTHER RESEARCH
Pet-en-l'air @ Manchester Art Gallery
'Throughout the 18th century, fashionable women wore supports under their petticoats in order to create the desired silhouette. Hoops (called “paniers” in French) were rounded early in the century, but soon flattened into an oval shape that extended over the hips. Larger hoops were more popular in the mid-century, as well as for formal wear. However, by the mid- to late-1770s, changing dress styles included a new silhouette for women’s lower half. While hip emphasis remained, there was a new roundness to the silhouette, introducing fullness over the rear. This hip-and-rear silhouette remained in fashion until about 1786-7, when fullness moved to only the rear. In order to create both of these shapes (hip-and-rear and rear-only), women wore pads — called “bums” or “rumps” (in English) and “culs” in French (Ribeiro 222).
In the 18th century, most of the satirical references and prints focus on rumps made of cork, which seems to have been particularly ridiculous to contemporaries. However, they could also be made of linen or cotton and crin (horsehair). One late 18th century rump (further discussed below) at the Manchester Galleries is made of white linen with padding (the type of padding is not listed) with a silk cover and silk ties. The Boston Museum of Fine Arts has a pair of hip rolls, made of glazed cotton or wool, stuffed with wood shavings and wool tape ties.'
Scanned in pages from 'CORSETS AND CRINOLINES' by Norah Waugh
Detailed descriptions of the hoop petticoat and the farthingale skirts; items of 18th century dress that employ the use of hip rolls to emphasis hourglass silhouette.
Scanned in pages from PATTERN MAGIC 2 by TOMOKO NAKAMICHI - pattern cutter who creates extraordinary and seemingly impossible shapes through cut and tailoring techniques.
Links well with the geometric ideas I was considering though my modelling process.
Peut-etre magazine issue 4, DIOR COUTURE 2012
I was interested to find this image, as the shape around the waist and hips is not dissimilar to what I created during my modelling with darts etc. I had compared this to the 18th century hip rolls, however when you see the silhouette created here, it also looks fitting with a more contemporary 1950's exaggerated hourglass silhouette.
PART 9 - FINAL DESIGN
Finished 'jacket', (above) front view and (below), back, side and close view showing hand stitching.
PART 2 - FIRST PLAY
First task concerning the manipulation of a complete jacket, not yet allowed to begin deconstruction.
After some brief initial research, I knew that I wanted to preserve an element of the tailored jacket rather than lose it entirely, however had no absolute ideas as of yet, I took this opportunity therefore to experiment broadly with shape, drape, symmetry and structure. I had also not yet settled on the second material that I would be using, so was free to simply play with the blazer, starting to see it as fabric, not an existing item.
PART 4 - CONTINUED MODELLING
After studio time I chose to continue modelling the jacket, now partially deconstructed, in more intricate ways. After some trial and error I was able to create an almost geometric element through darts alone. The shape resembled that of 18th century hip rolls, while also appearing strikingly contemporary. I was attracted to the bizarreness of this angular shape suddenly erupting from tight fitting fabric, and also the way that this could be achieved through traditional tailoring methods (i.e. darts).
PART 6 - FLAT SHAPES
Having deconstructed the jacket with precision, now left with the pattern pieces, we were instructed to make flat shapes from the pieces and draw what we made. Following this we then transferred these flat drawn shapes onto the body. This was an interesting task, forcing us to disconnect the garment from the body in the traditional sense. The body could simply provide the foundation for our final piece, rather than a definitive structure around which a garment has to fit.
With the geometric structures still in mind, I began seeing these flat shapes as nets, almost as if, once folded, they would transform into a three-dimensional shape once again. It would certainly be interesting to try and combine the use of three-dimensional structures and their nets in a final piece.
PART 8 - FINAL MODELLING AND CONSTRUCTION
To immediately remove the idea of a jacket, I turned the piece back to front, leaving a blank canvas of the back fabric for me to manipulate as I wanted. The geometric shapes were the most important element of the design to me, as it was these that altered the silhouette, and that linked to the TAILORED nature of the original blazer. My working concept at this point was one of ‘inverse tailoring’, as this is a technique that tapers the fabric close into the body, I would be using the same classic techniques, darts, pleats etc. to achieve an opposite effect, building out and extending the silhouette as opposed to narrowing it. I therefore first began to model the shapes around the hem of the existing jacket, making the fabric rise up to the waist. The shapes were very successful however as they jut out at irregular angles and heights. Some are high enough that the underneath and inside is visible, while for others it is only the top face that can be seen. I particularly like this, as it adds depth to the design as a whole.
The rest of the design had to be tailored around this intricate lower half, as the fabric now puckered and pulled in bizarre places, while I wanted a clean and simple top, making the ‘eruption’ of shape all the more significant. After some consideration therefore, I chose to create false seams by folding areas where there was too much fabric under itself and stitching flat. This was really dictated by the fabric itself, and was something that I particularly enjoyed working with, as it could not be predicted, only followed; as if it was in fact designing itself.
I did know that I wanted to reference the flat shape experimentation in my design, perhaps using this to show the net of one of the structural shapes. I therefore chose to do this at the back of the piece, creating an asymmetric design with hook and eye fastenings. One of the original pockets now juts out across the back, distorting the clean line that would otherwise have been created.
The use of a second material however was something I had left out during this process, feeling that the final design would lose some of its impact if combined with more fabric. I experimented with the knitted rag, and was able to model ideas that I did like, however felt that the inclusion of this would simply be because the brief had required it, and not because it added anything to the design as it was. I was unsatisfied with this, and therefore began considering materials that would accentuate the design I had created. Eventually I found a reel of copper wire, and decided that if I could mould this into the shapes I had created from fabric, they could be inserted inside them like a skeleton, and would sharpen them. I was far more satisfied with this as my material, as it worked with the design, rather than take it over.
PART 10 - EXHIBITION
(ABOVE) My portion of the exhibition showing final piece and accompanying samples.
Samples made using paper, jacket and copper wire exclusively, only materials used in construction of the final garment so that the exhibit looked coherent.
After completing the samples, I layered them over one another and combined several into one to photograph the different textures and colours that appear. These photographs reveal beautiful new colours that were not visible beforehand, the camera picking up on details that would generally go unnoticed. Although not samples in themselves, I feel this is a successful way of getting more from my samples.