Recent Developments In Mantle Design

Finding optimal mantle designs requires the right combination of fit and style, something that’s not always easy to achieve. Below is a prototype of a mantle based on a pattern that was drafted from an original 1880s mantle. The original mantle was fairly small so we scaled it up for a size 44 bust, a process complicated by the fact that the sleeves are actually set into the side/front and side/read seams rather than simply attaching to the armscye like a conventional sleeve.

 

The back is fairly roomy and can accommodate smaller bustles.

The under sleeves form “wings” that extend from the side seams.

The lining- the sleeves are lines separately before installation into the outside fashion fabric shell. The remainder of the lining is formed into a shell that’s like the outer shell only it has no sleeves.

To give structure and shape to the lapels, there’s an underlayer of Hymo canvas interfacing and the roll lines are reinforced with twill tape. Here’s the original toille:

The front is fairly roomy, allowing enough room to create lapels. If lapels are not desired, the front can be trimmed back. Also, a wide variety of collar styles can also be added- it’s all a matter of personal preference.

The sleeve caps have some ease.

The winged sleeves. We’ll be posting some more pictures of the sleeve details in future posts.

Finding Inspiration In Paris, Part 2

Bienvenue au musée d'Orsay

Inspiration for us is not limited to water lilies… 🙂 We also too the opportunity to visit the Musee d’Orsay which is home to one of the finest art collections in the world and houses one of the largest collections of Impressionist paintings in the world (no surprise there!). Here’s just a few highlights, starting with Claude Monet:

Here’s a better view, courtesy of the web:

Claude Monet, Essai de figure en plein-air: Femme à l’ombrelle tournée vers la gauche, 1886

The artist’s technique, when combined with light and color gives the above figure an almost ethereal appearance- individual detail is not as an important as overall effect. What’s also interesting is that the sunlight is somewhat soft and diffuse rather than harsh. The above painting was one of a set of two with the figure facing both to the left and right:

And there’s the fabulous Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe by Manet:

This painting is a lot larger than what I was expecting. Here’s a better version, courtesy of the web:

Edouard Manet, Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe, 1863

Manet’s Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe was considered somewhat risque in 1863, especially in terms of subject matter. One can read many interpretations into this art piece but for us, this represents a freedom of form that runs somewhat counter to the tightly corseted clothing forms characteristic of the period. It’s an interesting contrast.

Renoir’s Bal du moulin de la Galette provides another interesting study in the play of color and light:

And once again, a better version, courtesy of the Musee d’Orsay:

Renoir, Bal du moulin de la Galette, 1876

Now, while it can be argued that paintings only go so far when replicating the natural world, that really misses the point in that we’re not looking for strict realism, rather we’re looking at the artist’s interpretation of the natural world and it’s that interpretation that engages our interest and thus, inspires. The play of light and color is immensely fascinating to us and it often serves as a point of departure our design process. Impressionism is especially compelling because of its focus on light and color, especially when the color can change with the light due to factors such as shade, time of day, and distribution. Renoir’s Bal du moulin de Galette, pictured above, provides an especially good example of this.

And just because, below are some more examples, starting with one of our favorites, The Swing, by Renoir:

Auguste Renoir, La balançoire, 1876

The individual details of the objects and people are somewhat blurred but the colors go a long ways towards filling in the details. Also, we can tell that the woman’s dress is an princess line dress. 🙂 Monet’s A Bridge Over A Pond of Waterlilies is another favorite:

Claude Monet, Le bassin aux nymphéas, harmonie verte, 1899

The play of the various shades of green are striking and even more so viewing them up close and in person. Just for contrast is Monet’s Houses of Parliament depicts of London on a typically misty/foggy day where the sun is trying to burn through:

Claude Monet, Londres, le Parlement. Trouée de soleil dans le brouillard, 1904

Paris is the perfect place for fashion inspiration and during our short stay, we didn’t even scratch the surface of its amazing potential. However, we’ll be going back soon so we’ll have another opportunity to be inspired up close and personal. Au revoir!

In Development- Mantles!

The weather is cooling off and that means mantles, vistes, and dolmans! Here’s one mantle style that’s currently in development. This particular style features large wing sleeves and is styled to amply cover any dress. Stay tuned for more!

The front will feature wide lapels.

The sleeves are actually attached as part of the side seams and when the arms are outstretched, they actually create wings.

Finding Inspiration In Paris, Part 1

French impressionist painting have always been a major source of inspiration for us here at Lily Absinthe so for us, viewing impressionist artworks “in the wild,” so to say, was a major high point of our recent trip to Paris. 🙂 Some of our most favorite impressionist artworks are Monet’s various water lily paintings so it was an almost religious experience to view them up close and personal at Musée de l’Orangerie in the Tuileries Gardens.

Musée de l’Orangerie exterior.JPG

The Musée de l’Orangerie was originally built in 1852 and had a wide variety of uses before the building was re-configured in the early 1920s to house a series of large panel paintings of water lilies that was collectively named the Nymphéas. Below are a few selections:

Here’s the floor plan:

Pari

There are eight water lily paintings that surround the viewer, following the oval shape of the walls, each painting depicting water lilies at different times of the day, starting with the morning ending in the evening. The pictures below show a few of the paintings- our cell phone camera doesn’t do justice to it.

The pictures here really don’t do justice to the sheer visual spectacle on display- the colors blend, yet they also remain as separate entities, painting “blocks” if you will. Also, it’s interesting to note that the details of the various plants are depicted in an abstract manner- you don’t really see precise details, just a representation.

So how does this translate into fashion design? For us, it’s more a matter of how color is arranged and how light affects how we view color. For example, colors that would work nicely for a day dress that’s meant for wear both indoors and outdoors during the day do not necessarily work for an evening gown worn inside a ballroom that’s lit with gas, candles, or electricity (for a more full discussion on the effects of light on color, click HERE.

(To Be Continued…)

Fall Is Here!

Fall is here we’re definitely feeling here in Southern California. So what’s on? Work continues on our line of ready-to-wear Day Lilies collection as well as a line of corsets available in a variety of colors and constructed from fabrics sourced on our travels through Europe. 🙂 Later, in early November we’ll be heading out to Paris to enjoy a more “proper” Fall but first, it’s to work.  🙂