Rarely do we find exceptionable art that is conceptually developed around paper dress patterns. John Westmark's art expresses the struggles of women, often weighed down by voluminous clothing that is perhaps symbolic of their obligations and duties, while at the same time it underscores their beauty and fragility. His work plants all the contradictions right there in one sweep and, if you are a woman, there is your life and that of so many others, frozen in one scene. You feel like you are looking at a self-portrait. It is powerful and important. See the show if you are near Charleston, SC -- it's there from April 4th to July 13.
Thank you, John, for your eloquent and beautiful work.
Some of you may wonder why I am such an apostle for Madeleine Vionnet's work from the 1930's and why I cut our patterns according to her principles and techniques -- and why it took me 40 years to learn to do it! The answer, for the current generation, lies in F.I.T. 's wonderful upcoming exhibition, featuring both women's and men's designs from the 1930's, called Elegance in the Age of Crisis, February 7 – April 19, 2014, New York. Bias cut clothing reveals the natural body artistically but does not exploit it. Watch and learn . . . then think about how similar our times are to the 30's.
This video has an excellent rationale for the Pli de Souplesse, which is discussed by Alan LeBlanc in his essay in our store.
This is a Vionnet cut piece, totally on the bias with just 2 pieces, front and back, which seam asymmetrically at the neckline. It is a true One-Day Dress -- just pops over the head and you're out the door!
It's happened again! The economy went down, unemployment went up, competition for jobs came back with a vengeance and the first weapon on that front is always simply looking great -- so easy, so much fun and so socially and financially profitable! This economy-driven cycle regularly returns about once or twice a generation (30 years). And when men start looking great again, women compete too. It's about getting selected by a guy with an eye, even if the eye is newly acquired. I know looks are definitely not everything but we're not talking male model, just a show of a little sartorial taste. So this month we have what I hope will be the first in a run of men's jackets, shirts, vests -- maybe some interesting, odd ties. The aesthetic now in the male world is an easy, yet original, cut in fabulous fabrics and colors -- a very welcome departure from the standard jock, corporate or grunge image. The emphasis is on comfort, practicality, great texture and color and design lines that avoid the usual. Have fun with it!
P.S. Since everybody loses a scarf now and then, the Scarf Jacket could be unisex too.