Thursday, March 31, 2011

Because Size Does Matter...

I've been hard at work for a few weeks already searching for textiles and sketching ideas for what I want this collection to look like. Before I can really delve in, however, I had to come up with a general idea of HOW i want to use the whole connection between my old dance costumes and Las Meninas.

I decided that I want to use the idea of a child "playing dress up" to play with exaggerated shapes and silhouettes. After some much appreciated guidance from my teacher, I took some of my own clothes and dressed them on a child mannequin to see what happens to their shape. Here's what happened....

This is a slip from Free People that is fairly loose on me and comes to just below my knees. On The child's body it is floor-length and the neckline as well as the arm holes are at or below the waistline. Also...the dart for the breast is below the waist.
With this Anthropologie dress, I was curious to see what would happen with the cut at the waist. In the back, it fell below the mannequin's tush (which isn't very clear in the picture).
The first button of this jacket (which is generally at the waist) is around the hips (if a child were to have hips, that is). Also, the sleeve reaches the mannequin's knees and the collar sticks out past the shoulders.
The jeans are a bit more self-explanatory; although I did notice that the back pockets were about the size of the mannequin's entire behind!

I took the whole experiment and tried to create general silhouettes on a woman's body. These are more or less the shapes I'm going to try working with for the collection.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Go ahead, inspire me

Here we have it...My inspiration board for the project:
I decided to use the header I created for the blog because it really just says it all. I changed the colors a bit (because these will be more or less the colors I will have to use for the collection) and made a couple of other changes...but all in all, here we have it! Go ahead, be inspired...

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Introducing the Newest Infanta....

So here's the point where you really start to see what goes on "behind the scenes" in the life of a fashion student. At this point in my project, I need to choose a customer...which basically means I need to find someone who's personality and lifestyle represent my desired target audience for the collection I want to design.

Generally at my school....I'm not gonna lie...We just make someone up. We invent an entirely nonexistent person...put together some images of where they live and what they like to do from a couple of random Google image searches and voila...we have a "customer"!

This time, however, we needed to find a customer from The Selby. The Selby is an insider’s view (photographed by photographer Todd Selby) of creative individuals in their personal spaces with "an artist's eye for detail."

So here she is....She's a photographer who lives with her DJ roommate in LA (which is basically my home away from home....when I'm home, that is). Honestly, what more do you need? Oh, and she loves sequins and impromtu photo shoots. This is my kind of girl... : )

Saturday, March 19, 2011

In a Parallel Universe

I'm pretty sure this posts speaks for itself, but for those of you in dire need of reading material...I'll just say few words. Let's just say...I've noticed that this whole comparison between historical children's portraits and my old dance photos goes beyond the mere fact that they're all funny portraits of kids. In fact, I've managed to find loads of similarities in the clothing itself....As if whoever "designed" those dance costumes sat in her little sewing room with an inspiration board full of collages of little Spanish princesses!

Infanta Margarita in a Blue Dress (Velasquez) and 3-year-old me! Lots of shiny gold and the same shape of those cuts!

Infanta Don Margarita de Austria (Velasquez), me, and my sister, Taylor (ages 7 and 9, respectively...also a total guess). Pink Stripes! Okay...this one may or may not be a stretch!

Edward, Prince of Wales (Hans Holbein) and 3-year-old me (again)...Hey! That's my hat! Also...does anyone else think we bear a striking resemblence?

Don Baltasar Carlos (Velasquez) and my sister (age 5)...Same pose and quite possibly even the very same chair.

Marguerite de France reine de Navarre (Francois Clouet) and Taylor again. The exact same silver beads (what are the chances Marguerite's were also plastic?)

I got all these photos from this site, IAmAChild...a blog entirely dedicated to children in art history. Check it out!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Stilettos and Pacifiers?

While we're on the topic of children dressing like grown-ups...Raise your hand if you haven't seen Tom Ford's December shoot for Vogue Paris! The 12-page spread featured girls ages 7 and younger playing dress up...not in old glitzy dance costumes...but rather, in Versace, Lanvin, Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent! When the issue was released, outrage ensued. Tom Ford was accused of inappropriately exploiting young girls.

There's no doubt that Tom Ford used the shoot in order to make a statement about the fashion industry's desire to hold on tightly to its youth and...quite unnaturally... never let it go. This article does a particularly nice job, in my opinion, of discussing the whole issue. Click Here to view the rest of the photos.

Although I'd seen/read about the shoot months ago, after having started this project, I can't help but look at the whole issue in an entirely new light. Until as late as the 20th century, children were dressed like mini-adults solely because there was no alternative. Kids 'R Us and Osh Kosh B'Gosh just weren't a thing yet. Kids-wear, as we know it today, arguably* didn't truly exist until after the early 1900's.

Until then, silk was a staple textile in a kid's wardrobe; yet interestingly enough, it seems absurd for Tom Ford to have dressed these 6-year-olds in silk ball gowns.

Why is it not disturbing to see the young Infanta Margarita (see previous post: Las Meninas) dressed as a spitting image of her adult counterparts, yet just over 300 years later, dressing these girls (who are the same age as our beloved Infanta) like the adults of our time causes an international outrage? In the era of Las Meninas, kids dressed in glittering silk ball gowns were a symbol of royalty and riches (and certainly not considered inappropriate). So the question becomes....when did these extravagant, shiny, and glorious get-ups become the height of all kitsch? I'm still working on coming up with an answer...but I'm pretty sure it has something to do with the point when silk and taffeta turned into spandex and sequins...aka...the 80's.

*I said arguably because, in fact, with the rise of the industrial revolution in the 18th century, cotton goods became relatively cheap and were often used to make less stiff, washable clothes for children. However, not long after, enter the Romantic Era....and children...again...look like mini-adults.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A World of Shiny People

By chance, I came across this photography series by Israeli photographer, Michal Chelbin (I highly recommend you check her out). She photographs lots of little dancers and ice skaters (and perhaps other kids that just enjoy traipsing around the countryside in costume...and who can blame them?).

What I love about her photos is the way she photographs these girls in costume, yet so out of context. Each girl seems to be saying something with her glance. I can't help but compare the costumes themselves to those of my sister and me (although obviously there's no beating our super-glam costumes of the early 90's)...But the portraits themselves are so different...they're not studio portraits so they seem to catch something much more real.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Las Meninas

I feel it necessary to give a little bit of background on the name I chose for this blog/project. Going through all of these old photos, I couldn't help but notice how uncomfortable my sister and I look in almost every portrait. Our costumes never seemed to be quite the right size and I recall being beyond embarrassed (even at age 3) that I had to wear most of them. The whole concept of the awkward antique chair, the plant popping out from the corner, and that ladder?...It all got me thinking about the whole idea of a child's portrait. So forced, so unnatural, and inevitably an indirect portrait of the stage mom herself.

Las Meninas (in Portuguese, "The Girls"), 1656, Diego Velasquez
Infanta Margarita in Blue Dress, 1659, Diego ValesquezInfanta Margarita Teresa in White Dress, 1656, Diego Velasquez
Pablo Picasso, Las Meninas Infanta Margarita Maria, 1957

Historically, children have consistently been dressed to reflect their parents. Kids were stuffed into corsets and crinolines with no regard for the shape of a child's body nor for the fact's a child!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Say Cheesy

Welcome to my bloggerific new project! I study fashion design at Shenkar College in Tel Aviv and in the FRAMEWORK of one of my courses this semester (pun intended), I'll be using this blog as my sketchbook. It will follow my entire design process, from inspiration to a collection of 5 outfits (one of which will be sewn and presented at the end of the semester). The class is called "Private Collection" and requires that each student draw inspiration from something they collect. So here you have it...My collection of childhood dance pictures. Behind each one lay the traumatic memories of long picture days, way too much eye shadow for a 4 year old, stage moms, and mostly just blinding amounts of glitter. 5, 6, 7, 8...