There are many words that can be associated with Laura Ashley - chintz, frills,
The early 1970's cause me to have internal conflict.
Synthetic fabrics were probably at their most popular - I am not a fan of synthetics. Dry, raspy, polyester can be scratchy to the skin and then slinky synthetic fabrics can feel soapy and sweat inducing - obviously I have a general loathing - But!
Contrary to my loathing of the fabric, I love the prints. Not just the psychedelic prints that the 70's are well known but the novelty images. The above print is of carousel horses. The dress is a basic A-line dress, polyester fabric - simply a rather drab article of clothing but add this amazing print and colour - boom! Suddenly something of excitement - total 1970 frivolity.
Green is the colour of balance and growth. It is also the most common colour in the natural world - (second to blue). It is also the colour that conjures up the widest thoughts -
Being a combination of the insight and clarity of the colour blue plus good judgment from the colour yellow, it there fore creates a colour that is considerate emotionally balanced and harmonious.
The word Culotte is derived from the French word Culot, historically referring to the lower half of a garment. Historically speaking in English they refer to breeches - a half leg trouser tied just below the knee with buckles or laces.
The modern description for the Culotte is - a half or short legged trouser that initially looks like a skirt.
So whilst the sun shines, the air has yet to catch up and warm up. Or is it perhaps just me...
Evidently our ankles are tough, in fact it has been said they are resistant to the cold.. not mine.
And although I am all in favour of ankle swimming denim, distressed, chewed, ripped, remade.. I just still find it too cold. Which is why I have fell in love with the idea from Teen Vogue that wearing a fishnet ankle sock could solve this wee dilemma. Obviously I'm assuming on Teen Vogues behave its a 'fashion' statement, but as far as I am concerned - its tantamount to thermal genius - no dreadful puns intended at all...
I love shopping but not always the high end, glossy boutiques. Quite often I can be found having a rummage through a charity shop , flea market or a car-boot sale. These are the places you can walk away with nothing or a golden 'find'.
Today was no exception. I found the prettiest late 70's shirt dress. After a quick internet search I'm not the wiser regarding the label 'Selective Marketplace'. Nor any closer to being able to say if it's a Liberty of London print - which I suspect it might be.
However, whilst searching Liberty of London vintage fabrics and prints, most of which are printed on 'Tana Lawn cotton' - it occurred to me that I've never thought or known what 'Tana Lawn cotton' is.
Simply its a 100% cotton fabric made from ultra fine, long staple cotton fibres and woven and produced without the use of any crease-resisting chemicals and irritants. The end result is a fabric that is cool, durable, opaque, comfortable to wear and takes print and colour well - allowing the design to be replicated onto fabric as clear and concise as the original.
Which is great as there are over 43,000 Liberty of London prints in existence and this added to by roughly a further 120 designs every year. Now thats's an archive I'd love see, experience and loose myself in - literally for days!
My obsession with the Spring / Summer 2016 jeans from Vetements is huge! I love everything about them. The fit, style, colour, recycling, worn denim, lived in yet stylish, the fact each pair is individual, I could go on.
They are hand crafted individual jeans and with a price tag that goes with such craftsmanship and above anything I can justify (or afford) I decided to try making my own - further post with step by step details - but happy to confirm they aren't too hard to make.
Having spent significant time away writing a children's book - and - before I spend even more time getting it published - it's time to get back to my love of textiles.
Although I've had little time to work on archiving the pieces of clothing, it hasn't stopped me collecting! Even last weekend I was able to pick up a couple of vintage hand embroidered Mexican dresses.
There are several types of embroidery used for Mexican clothing. Working on different weights of fabric, some looser light weights are great for simple cross stitch. In addition heavier cotton and linen fabrics can be used too. One of the most common and stunning types of embroidery is Otomi Hand Embroidery.
It is a stunning type of embroidery often depicting birds, flora and wild life. The embroidery stitch used is called 'false satin stitch'. This is where the stitch is only kept on the front of the fabric and not taken to the back but kept in place by a holding it in place at each end by a small stitch. This means that large areas can be covered very economically. Often found on simple kaftan style dresses, blouses, as well as house hold textiles such as pillow cases, cushions, quilts.
Although I'm fairly consistent in loving, collecting and wearing vintage clothing - it doesn't stop me looking for future and emerging talent, which leads me onto Alice Archer.
Tailoring, florals, colour, mixtures of fabrics from velvets to hand knits all over worked with the most intricate and stunning embroideries. Having previously translated Tracey Emins drawings into embroidery and then taken a role at Dries Van Norten as a design assistant its more than time for Alice to present her own collection.
One to watch - and for me - one to collect!
What better day to be inspiration for prints than Chinese New Year - The Year of The Monkey.
And - what better artist to look towards for the perfect Monkey print than Henri Rosseau. Well known for his jungle scenes - he never actually set foot in a jungle. A self taught artist, there is a naivety about his work that for me makes it approachable, visually inspiring and readable. It conveys a story, a simple and yet intriguing picture. Giving more as you continue to look.
Happy New Year!
I've always been a huge fan of textiles and constantly source anything textile related as inspiration. I have a collection of vintage clothes - incorporating a huge amount of craft, embroideries, needle work etc but one area of clothing I'd like to add to, is print.
I currently collect pieces from Zandra Rhodes and Ann Green plus other designers and pieces of social, environmental or craft interest. Mostly these focus on surface texture and not print. So I'm having a think and starting to look at areas of fashion, print and vintage clothing that I'd like to consider collecting.
I've started with Louis Feraud. I love the prints he used especially in the 1960's. Prints so busy that they stand alone as stunning illustrations. Illustration's that could almost be considered elaborate doodles - yet - incredibly sophisticated. I'm not a huge scarf fan - either as a collector or wearer so I think the fact that these amazing prints were used as clothing makes them for me more wearable and there fore more collectable.
The sales aren't over yet, the weather hasn't changed and yet as we start February I find myself looking for change, a spring clean, new hair cut, a new 'look'. So after a quick flick through enough magazines - that for the same cost I probably could have bought a new outfit - I love magazines! I have come to the realisation that anything goes!
Denim is in - It never went out really - but its frayed, ripped, cropped, embroidered, in fact grab some old jeans and do what you fancy, experiment, have fun!
So if nothing is 'in' fashion - then how do the trends work - and here's the simple answer - clash, bang, add colour, texture, pattern. The more the merrier! So here's to a happy, fun, glittering, sparkling, rather clashing February.
The weathers miserable, the 'new season' magazines are telling me that denim is 'in' which is the same as last season. Although this season it's without stretch - pure denim as some would say.
So drinking my fresh basil tea, inhaling my Japanese incense - I want to escape. Just for a second, I want to pretend the washing doesn't need doing or that I don't need to check that there is food in for school lunches - because yes, I have a family.
So my simple and ultimate treat is to look at new season fashion - Couture. If I could ever afford it, I'm still not sure I could justify it but maybe just one piece - if I could afford it.
And this is my treat looking at what is unavailable to me and yet allowing myself the pleasure of choosing just one piece - just one treat!
This time it would be from Giambattista Valli, A simple number but big, masses of tulle and yet light. It transports me to somewhere that weather permits such frivolity, that space and time allow me to twist and turn, dance and dream.