Gloom Installation

I'm finally posting about this! It was a school project from my art foundation course that I worked on last january. We had to make an installation that we would photograph for a fictional record cover (LP), and all text had to be incorporated into the installation. A lot of my fellow students worked with drawings and paintings, but that's not my strong point, nor do I have the most fun doing it, so I decided to work with textiles! Also, the band I picked is my best friends' band, so that made it more fun :)

The song I picked for the cover was inspired by Twin Peaks (my BFF and I are fans!), so I wanted the installation to mirror that. I would have liked to shoot in a bedroom, but we had to shoot at school, so I had to bring the bedroom to school, which I did like so:

This project was similar to the fashion photography course in that we had the same teacher and everything had to be made by us! So I used some wood, glue and cardboard to make a bedframe and wall.

Next I built a nightstand from an old winecrate my dad gave me (he likes wine so I make him give me the boxes :)), a board from the "leftovers" bin at the hardware store and 4 dowels. I spent forever staining and sealing them all, but I wanted to be able to use it after the shoot. I would make a tutorial but I think it kinda explains itself:

I wanted the nightstand to be the focus of the photograph and fill it with all the many things I associate with those teenage years and objects that allude to themes that are kind of universal in the process of growing up. All on one messy nightstand (cause mine was always messy...), like a shrine to adolescence.

And since, you know, Twin Peaks, I made this to be the centerpiece of the shrine:

Laura Palmer! Rose Petals! Hands with cigarettes! Glitter! Lipstick! So confusing! Aah the teen years... It's weird that I'm slightly nostalgic for a time in my life where I was very unhappy alot of the time and longed for it to be over. I think I might be nostalgic for the daydreams I had during that time, or for a false memory rather then what it was really like. Like how you always get really excited about summer approaching and all the things you'll do and feel in summer - complete freedom! - and when it's over you think "that was it? summers used to be so fun and exciting and just the best!" and it wasn't at all how you imagined it to be. But it never actually happened that way, that's just wishful remembering I guess? Or maybe that's just me. Anyway I'm rambling so back to the installation.

To spell out "GLOOM" (the name of the Band) I made knitted letters:

This is where I was at this point, I brought a ton of stuff (objects that somehow tied into the themes of adolescence: childhood, changing body, candy, death, sexuality, drugs, religion, beauty, womanhood, time, fashion etc.) in to style the scene:

Next I bought a blank Ikea lampshade, drew some of the lyrics onto it, cut them out and covered it in a flowery fabric...

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... printed out a flower pattern on multiple A4 sheets of paper and used them as wallpaper, embroidered lyrics on to a sweater and a pillow...

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... brought in pillows, blankets, carpets and turned my corner into a bedroom:

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And then we photographed it all!

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I you'd like to know more about how I made anything in the photos, let me know.

Posted on October 22, 2014 and filed under DIY & Crafts.

The Blanket Coat - Sketches

I have so many finished projects from the last few months to share, but I'll just add those in between current ones, so here's something I'm working on right now:

A winter coat! Made from a blanket I found at the thrift store for 15.- francs. I loved the color and though it would be nice to have a coat that feels like a blanket, so why not make it from an actual blanket?

Also, I liked this color combo and I'm considering using a dark red for the lining:

(image via)

I made the first draft of the pattern and first muslin on friday, I'll have better pictures up in the next few days. For now some instagrams will have to do:

In the second picture I've started draping the darts at the bottom, but it's not quite right yet, still working on it. (In the first picture you can see my schools sewing room!)

Also, since the blanket is very drapey, I'm going to have to interface the sh*t out of it to make it hold the shape of the sleeves. I hope it's possible without adding too much weight... I was thinking of using horsehair. Anyone have a good idea?

Posted on October 20, 2014 and filed under Sewing.

Entry Exam

Hi! In the last few weeks I moved to Basel and started studying fashion design here, so I've been quite busy. So far I love it! I'm hoping I can blog more regularly about my projects now because I'll really be focused on fashion for the next few years (no more musicals to distract me... for the moment).

The reason I found time to blog is because I'm sick with sinusitis... no fun! But I'm almost better and I can go to school again tomorrow :)

I wanted to share some pictures from my entrance exam to the course, because it was really interesting. The first part was an assignment we had to do at home and send in. We had to film an "autoportrait", no longer than 1 minute. It was really hard to show yourself, what inspires you, what you've worked on in the past all in under 1 minute! We had to send the little film, a one page "essay" about our approach to fashion and some sort of "packaging" for the CD or memorystick.

front and back

front and back

Above is the pouch I made for the memory stick. I used the same wool fabric I used for the Armor Jacket (I love this stuff!) and leather. I had just watched Moonrise Kingdom and I felt like making something that looks homemade and boy/girl-sout-y or like one of those knicknacks you have left over from your childhood but can't remember where you got it. Also, I only had an afternoon left to make it soooo... and I was sick. But I really liked it! Unfortunately I forgot to go pick it up from the university on the two scheduled days so it is gone forever...

A few weeks after I sent in the autoportrait (I don't feel like showing it because watching myself on film just makes me cringe, I'm sure you know what I'm talking about...) I was informed that I was in the next round! Yay!

The second part was a practical exam that took 2.5 days. The first day was kinda like project runway (no srsly). We had to bring along different materials and then after looking at a huge moodboard full of pictures, we had to create something on a mannequin without sewing! So just glueing, stapling, etc. We also got to use this see-through plastic they gave us.

So yeah, that's what I made. The bottom part is a bit of a mess, but I'm ok with how it turned out. Obviously it's not something I'd wear like this, it's more "art" than wearable. Plus, just like the pouch above, this thing is longe gone in the garbage...

The second day we had to photograph what we'd made, and in the afternoon it was time to draw! I was more nervous about this part. But it was ok! There were two models and and first we only had like 1, 2 or 4 minutes to draw them, then we had more, 8 or 10, the longest was 18 minutes I think. Then we had to pick our 8 favorites, rank them and turn all of the drawings in. I only photographed the "top 8" and these three are my favorites:

The last half day of the exam was the written part. It wasn't fashion history or anything, more about our thoughs on fashion, where it's heading, our favorite and least favorite works of art/design/music.

I think it's worth mentioning that sewing skills weren't required to be accepted to the program. Also, we didn't have to send in a portfolio (we could take one along to the interview if we wanted to), the first step of the application was really just that 1 minute video and it's packaging. Pretty smart I think, because making a video like that forces you to create something new, and it takes additional effort apart from putting together a portfolio, and that extra effort might already "weed out" applicants that aren't really passionate about the subject. Plus looking through 1 minute videos is faster than looking through hundreds of portfolios. They let 50 applicants attend the exam, and now we're 23 students.

So many people were surprised to hear that the exam was so thorough, they'd be like "what? for fashion design?" - Yeah man, for fashion design. I think it was good to have such a long exam, it helped me get a feel for the school, and it just seemed like a place I'd enjoy studying at. So far I'm right!

Posted on October 2, 2014 and filed under design school.

Couture - 1953 Magazine Scan

A loong time ago I posted some scans from an old magazine - I'm back with more! First, the beautiful cover:

I love the colors and textures! The vertical pleats are so beautiful, they're sort of stiff and soft at the same time. And the mohair coat! So luxurious...

Pages 9 and 13 are also interesting:

from left to right: Dress by Georgette Rénal, Jacket (or more like a poncho, it doesn't look like the buttons go all the way down) by Jaques Griffe, Dress by (Madame) Grès

from left to right: Dress by Georgette Rénal, Jacket (or more like a poncho, it doesn't look like the buttons go all the way down) by Jaques Griffe, Dress by (Madame) Grès

Top left: dress by Jean Dessès, Top right: Pierre Clarence, bottom: Jeanne Lafaurie

Top left: dress by Jean Dessès, Top right: Pierre Clarence, bottom: Jeanne Lafaurie

I think my favorites are the wrap dress by Georgette Rénal, and the weird print on the dress by Jeanne Lafaurie!

Red Sequin Tailcoats - Costumes for Verona 3000

I mentioned in the last post that I'd been busy with a musical. It was a project a group of young people started in june 2012 when the ensemble was cast (I was chosen along with around 29 other people between 13 and 30) and ended with 19 performances of the musical "Verona 3000".

It's a dystopian, sci-fi, modern musical version of Romeo & Juliet, that tells not only the story of two young people in love, but of our Generation. (There were many different styles of music (Rap, Hip-Hop, Blues, typical Musical songs, Swing, Funk...) and original Lyrics, all in Swiss-German)

In our version, the government has set up "hypertasers" (towers in puplic places that tase people when it senses a readiness for violence) aimed largely at young people. This leads to youth riots and the government turns to Glove TV (who have a world wide monopoly on television and general media) to distract the teenagers. So they brainstorm and the famous pop-group "Mercutio" leads them to Romeo & Juliet.

I was part of the pop band "Mercutio". Photo by Thomas P. Krähenbühl

I was part of the pop band "Mercutio". Photo by Thomas P. Krähenbühl

They skim the beginning of the piece and decide to start a reality show that focuses on finding the world's best couple (under 25).

This is where the costumes come in: there was one scene where the reality show was announced on Globe TV, with song and dance of course! :) It was a burlesque swing song, with an old hollywood inspired dance routine that my friend Tiffany and I choreographed, and we thought it would be really cool to have flashy, over the top, red sequin tailcoats for the women, so I sewed some. Also: huge velvet heart hats!

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Photos by Thomas P. Krähenbühl (that's me walking down the stairs in the first, and in the middle of the second picture ^^)

Photos by Thomas P. Krähenbühl (that's me walking down the stairs in the first, and in the middle of the second picture ^^)

It was a stressful time so I didn't exactly enjoy sewing 5 of these sequin things, but they turned out great! The way they shimmered in the light was really cool, and it really fit the choreography. It was the only scene in the musical with identical costumes. I also made the men's ties, they have velcro on them. This is definitely the most important thing about stage costumes: they have to be easy to put on and remove! We all had about 4 minutes to change into these costumes (tights, leotard, tapshorts, heels, tailcoat and hat) and do our hair, one girl even had to do it in about 60 seconds! She had the tights, leotard and shorts on under her previous costume, so she could throw on the tailcoat, climb down two ladders and up a flight of stairs where we helped her get on her headdress.

The above photos are from rehearsals so not everyone has their heart hat on unfortunately. You can also see the costumes for a few seconds in the video below (at around 0:25):

I drafted the pattern from a bodice and skirt sloper, and made them all the same size because the fabric was stretchy, and we're all about the same size. The front closure is three golden elastics with big gold buttons on the end and loops of elastic on the other side.

I wanted to share these costumes and a bit about the musical, because it's been such a big part of my life for the past two years! It was a huge project, organized independently by young people. We all contributed ideas to the story, lyrics, music, costumes and set, and we rehearsed almost every sunday between 10 am and 5 pm for two years. I'm sad that it's over, but on the other hand I'll have time to really focus on my own projects now.

a picture taken during rehearsal - the stage was huuuge!! We built it in a really big gym we rented. The white netting could be used to project images onto it, but it could also be lit from the back to make "shadow pictures" and when light sources right behind the net where turned on, you could see actors standing right behind it, kind of like turning on a TV screen, it was really neat!

a picture taken during rehearsal - the stage was huuuge!! We built it in a really big gym we rented. The white netting could be used to project images onto it, but it could also be lit from the back to make "shadow pictures" and when light sources right behind the net where turned on, you could see actors standing right behind it, kind of like turning on a TV screen, it was really neat!