Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Drawing Inspiration

As the manic Fashion Weeks advance (New York well under way, London approaching followed inexorably by the others) most of us are starting to accept that it's cold outside, rapidly getting dark earlier, Christmas is yonks away and so the urge to nest kicks in.  Nesting can take many forms, for me it involves pottering around at home, cooking something comforting with the radio on in the background, watching a classic movie in bed with cashmere bed socks and, of course, curling up with a good book and a huge hot chocolate or amaretto depending on my mood.  Now I am well aware that I won't be able to have a nesting day for quite some time but it's good to have something to look forward to and know that you can have a bit of me time, even if you have to squint at it on the horizon.

So while the riotous snaps and flashes of the zoom lenses are starting all over again in NYC, let's enjoy something from a gentler era.  The fashion pack's current favourite coffee-table book 'Fashion Designers' Sketchbooks' (Laurence King, £28) by Hywel Davies features artwork from Yohji Yamamoto, Karl Lagerfeld and Vivienne Westwood, and offers a glimpse into the workings of some of the world's most famous labels, with designers discussing their toiles and fabric choices. Quite the relief from the pap shots and blaaah of the Fashion Weeks.

Wak Kishimoto of Eley Kishimoto
Drawings for print inspiration
"I can’t explain in words what triggers ideas each time. As I still work most of the time in an analogue way, I have many tools and implements that I rely on, from paintbrushes to silk screens. But, if I have to nominate the essentials, it would be the pen and paper nearest to me" 
Amy Molyneaux from PPQ
Design drawings with fabric indication
"Our design process starts with points of reference, ranging from fabrics, works of art, general objects, people or whatever we feel is relevant to the theme we are working towards. It can even be a statement from a friend that suddenly fits into the thought process in our minds. We have a large space for displaying inspiration, and make it new and fresh each season or for each project we are working on."
Peter Jensen
Design drawings
"I like to draw using a black fine-liner and white copier paper. I always like there to be to be a bit of a story to each collection and I always have this idea of the muse, so I am always thinking about that. 
Here's what the bods at Lawrence King have to say about the book...

"Fashion Designers' Sketchbooks explores many major names working in the fashion industry today. Photographs, sketches, mood boards, line-ups, toiles, fabric swatches and more all contribute to the creation of ideas for fashion designs, and here they are brought together for the first time to show how the final work is conceived and developed.

Juxtaposing the garments on the catwalk and in look books with the original research material and with finished illustrations allows for a new perspective on the working methods of leading international designers and on the role of different media in the creation of their work, making the book a fascinating resource for both students and designers."

Antonio Marras for Kenzo
Fabric inspiration and silhouette roughs
“I need many things to nourish my inspiration: objects, images, stories and pieces of cloth. Everything that can make my mind travel and work, I continuously need to see new things, new places, to meet new people to listen to. At the same time, I need to be sure I can still count on old, steady things, things with a past and that already belonged to someone else, often things that have outlived time."
Chris Brooke from Basso & Brooke 3D toile for basket weave dress
"Depending on the piece I’m working on, it may be more important to begin experimenting on the mannequin, as ideas can come about through simply pinning and stitching shapes together, ideas that wouldn’t necessarily come from drawn work. And, then, the results are photographed so I can decide which parts are working and which aren’t. I then mark the fabric and lie it flat to create the flat pattern.”
Margaret Howell
Mood sketch for rain coat
"I always used to draw my ideas for clothes. The drawings were more about creating a mood or a feeling rather than being a specific technical drawing. My drawings are very loose and are more about a style than an exact representation of a garment."
John Galliano
Research books showing fabric ideas and inspiration
"I start with research and from there I build the muse, the idea, tell a story and develop a character, a look and then a collection."
 Another book of sketches that gets my heart a beating is by the inimitable Manolo Blahnik.  His beautiful sketches are often the sole advertisements for his creations when you flick through the pages of the glossies and his tome features an introductory essay by Nuclear Wintour herself...
I adore all of these shoes, I've no idea when I could wear any of them but I could sit and gaze at them for hours if they were on display in my huge Carrie-like walk-in wardrobe (imaginary at the moment)
Pink AND sparkly AND dangly AND Manolo's...My style is not particularly girly but could make an exception..
I can imagine these on a fairy godmother in a very stylish pantomime!
Finally, a satirical self-portrait of the man himself

 N.B. Whilst we're talking about shoes, a trip to Selfridges Show room is definitely in order, apparently it's bigger than the ground floor of the Tate Modern.  Designed by architect Jamie Forbert and with exclusive designs on sale from a host of labels including Givenchy, Chloe, Stella McCartney, Rodarte and Alejandro Ingelmo, the area will house no less than six different salons and 10 brand boutiques.  It sounds LETHAL.  Opens this month!X

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