Gah! I finally get a week off to work on my projects, sleep in, socialize til all hours, whatever I please, and I’m having major issues adjusting. I am so restless and fidgety. I can’t focus. I don’t like not working. All I can think about is all the stuff I still need to do to prepare for the Vegas tradeshow and the 3 different projects that are in the works.
Sigh. I wish I had a key to the office.
I’ve been sketching today, not just doodling some ideas, but properly putting together looks in croquis form. I’ve noticed a drastic change in my line quality. It’s rougher, more aggressive, more sure, heavy, angular; very different than it used to be. My teachers used to tell me your line quality was an expression of your personality and design aesthetic and some of them went as far as to tell us that they could guess which sketch belonged to which person based on line quality alone. I wonder what this change in line quality means for me. I mean other than the obvious, more specifically.
Here’s the follow up to the Balenciaga post I had promised. For the purposes of this format, I am keeping things as short and simple as possible.
Five years ago, I had the opportunity to go to London and take some summer courses at Central Saint Martins, one of the best fashion colleges in the world, where I had the privilege of taking a design course with the amazing Jessica Ogden, among other courses. I took a fashion forecasting class and the big project was to compile a lookbook of your own fashion forecast for what was to happen five years in the future.
(Jessica Ogden Spring 06)
The project was called “It’s a disease, baby”; I was calling for sexiness without it being in your face. Basically, I was forecasting that five years from the date of the project, fashion was going to move in a direction that was less sexually explicit. Obviousness would be out, simmering under the surface would be in. Color would be less important, form and lines would be the focus. A more masculine approach, if you will. (Historically, in art, form and line were considered more masculine traits, while focus on color was more feminine.)
In the pitch I presented back then, clothes had menswear elements, tailoring. Neutrals won, allowing only controlled splashes of color. Prints were not as important as tonal design details, brocades, lace. Clothes were more covered up. Looks hearkened back to more conservative eras–the forties, the turn of the 20th century Victorian and Edwardian, or they went in the direction of eras where the looks were more stark–the sixties, the age of neoclassicism.
So what does any of this have to do with Balenciaga?
I’ve been a fan of Nicolas Ghesquire for a few seasons. I won’t lie and say I’ve been a fan since he started at Balenciaga–it took some convincing for me. The current spring 2006 collection of his, however, just blew my mind and cinched the deal. It wasn’t until I saw this collection that I remembered that old project of mine again.
His collection was the embodiment of all the ideas I had tossed into that little book of images. I’m not saying I designed that collection five years ago; I’m not saying I even have the potential to design such a beautiful collection ever, I’m saying my forecast was correct, nothing more, nothing less. People need signs that the work they’re doing is good, that it’s on the right path, and this season’s developments (along with some prior forecasting projects) has shown me that I have potential. It’s an interesting thing, to be proven right. I won’t lie: it feels damn good. Not necessarily in the smug “I’m right, you’re wrong” sort of way, but in the “whoa, I wasn’t as clueless as I thought I was after all” sense. I just hope that I can keep this up.
As some of you may know, I’m in the process of trying to figure out my personal style. According to some friends of mine, I should be wearing more of what I wore to a party last week. A vintagey cream color polkadot snug fit cardigan, grey pencil skirt and flats. Apparently that is super flattering on me. Interesting, considering I rolled out of bed after a disco nap, slapped some eyebrows on, pulled whatever was clean in the closet and drove over there, later than I had wanted to be. Hrm.
I got another kimono. I promise I won’t buy another one for a long, long time. But this one was less than half the price of the other one!
So I’m a little obsessed with kimono. I’m not latching onto the “Memoirs of a Geisha” trend–believe me, I hardly look anything like a geisha when I go out in a kimono. I’ve been obsessed with kimono for a few years now and it’s only recently that I’ve discovered a place where I can get my fix in steady supply. I’m not quite sure if this is a good thing or not.
I’ve always loved hanbok (Korean traditional dress), but they were so difficult to wear–my armpits would scritch and I would always gets the hems dirty. Something about hanbok always made me feel like I should behave like a lady while wearing one, and y’all should know by now that I’ve never been very good at that.
Hanbok and kimono are not that dissimilar. Austere, softly geometric shapes, elegant folds, rich fabrics, intense color, various levels of embellishment, prominent sash, all skin hidden but for a bit of wrist, a bit of neck, different signs to show the marital status of the wearer. It’s no wonder the stereotype of the mysterious, unknowable asian beauty’s allure has been perpetuated for so long. We all portray the same image! (insert rolled eyes here.)
While studying at school, I went through a fierce little deconstructionist phase (didn’t we all?) and the idea of ripping up something so steeped in history like asian traditional dress of course appealed to me. I had already ripped apart and put back together the American icon–the blue jean; cheongsam were gorgeous but reminded me too much of restaurant waitresses. So hanbok and kimono it was. Shortly after school I went to work for a woman who started her own label reworking kimono. Not deconstructing, reworking, which are very different. She has this enormous, extensive collection of kimono that I covet to this very day.
Personally, I like kimono because they’re so easy to wear, especially the ones with the shorter sleeves for married women. (I’m not married, but hey, I told you I don’t wear them in the traditional way.) I tie them with a charmeuse sash, wrapping the kimono around me to varying degrees of coverage. I wear them with gold flipflops, chokers, my big Oaxacan gold earrings, leather wrist cuffs, denim minis, lacy lingerie, nothing at all, jeans, whatever suits my mood.
Being Korean, people may (jokingly?) call me a traitor (my grandmother would not be joking) by wearing traditional dress of a country that I not only wasn’t a citizen of, but with which my heritage had conflicting history. Actually, it’s the opposite. I have too much pride and respect for hanbok to wear cheap vintage finds accessorized with western apparel like denim to parties. When I get one as an adult, I want to have enough money to get a truly amazing one custom made, along with the requisite petticoats, cotton socks, rubber and silk shoes and jade hair pins.
My kimono I wear with irreverance, not out of disrespect, but in a way people know I don’t associate with the culture of the kimono, just the aesthetic. I stand out in the crowd without looking like a freak, it works on “fat-days”, I love them because I can control how much skin to show, since my daring depends on the day and I never go out in public in sleeveless, I can drive in one, it works with flats.
All this to say: where the hell are my packages? I need one for NYE!
folks! My sister is in
town for the next couple of
days, so there will be a short pause
in the blogging, but I’ll be back with my oh-so
Why did I think of you immediately when I saw these?
Just a few yummy Spring 06 collections you guys should take a peek at.
Underrated. Takes some classic looks, spins them with the Spring 06 twist, creating light, gorgeous, feminine looks. Not girlie; all woman.
Viktor & Rolf.
Spring 06 was a show in reverse, with the guys taking a bow first. The clothes were upside down and askew and what not, which reminds me of a denim project I did at school. Of course, they do it a hundred times better. Fun, and still hot. Couture meets mentally-inbalanced Belgian meets Japanese street aesthetic. Gotta love it. Hate the hair, though.
Not exactly sure if it’s the “spirit of Kenzo”, but it’s fun, eccentric, and better if you have no hips, which I don’t so I’m liking how a lot of the silhouettes will give me some hippage. Inadvertent or not, I’m glad not everyone is only designed for pear-shaped women.
How great is that bag??? Could you just die? I could. (Sorry–I’m having a Valley girl moment. Six years in L.A. will do that to you.)
I’m really digging golds and rusts and muted oranges and peaches and browns and camels and mahogony and coppers lately. Looks yummy as makeup, clothes, home decor. I was browsing the web for vintage kimonos, which I do almost daily, and I couldn’t help but notice that I was gravitating towards those colors, partly because they look good on me, and partly because I think they look so beautiful now with current trends and the winter season.
Speaking of which, I bought this lovely item today.
Okay, so I’m supposed to be watching the spending lately, but I just couldn’t resist! Lookit the purty colors! And it was a bargain–believe me, with my traditional Korean upbringing, I can spot a bargain when I see one. And it comes with an embroidered obi. Now I just have to figure out when to wear it…