The Fashion Show

What a great day!  We concluded the three day workshop in Garment Construction Techniques, with a seminar in Closures, starting the morning with Bound Buttonholes, and then moving into Triangular Bound Buttonholes.  When the students took a break to sample, I saw some really lovely triangular buttonholes coming from their sewing machines. We went on to discuss many ways to close a garment.  Lots of ideas, some simple, some fun, no more excuses for outerwear with no closure!

I really loved this group!  There was a huge range of skill levels in the class, some felt like they were beginners, and others were very skilled, needing some inspiration, there was even an experienced educator looking for ways to teach these kinds of techniques.  I hope all got something from the class, and I’m looking forward to the weekend seminars.

After I packed up and brought my two 70 pound suitcases over to the dorm room, I went over to the fashion show rehearsal.  I wasn’t actually participating in this show, but I wanted to preview the garments back stage, as I will be the judge.

As it turns out, because of the scheduling, I will have to actually judge the fashion show garments after the fashion show takes place. So I requested the privilege of actually judging the fashion show garments during the fashion show.

OK, so here is the problem.  This is a pet peeve of mine.  I have judged many many fashion shows over the years, and judging a fashion show, usually means, sitting in a room, with the garments,   each one laid out in front of me, like a dead carcass on the table.  See, I am looking at a piece of fabric, more often than not handwoven, sewn into a garment, laying on the table in front of me.  I have nothing to judge the garment on but technique, suitability of weave structure, and originality of design.  That isn’t really the problem, the problem is, I’m only seeing a very small piece of what this garment is about.  A garment is designed to be worn, to be viewed on a body.  A real body.  A post menopausal female, with  graying hair, and a wonderful outlook on life. I never get to see that part of the equation, who the garment was designed for, how does it fit them, does it wear them, or do they proudly wear it?  Later, after judging, I get to view the real fashion show, and 40% of the time, I want to change my comments and my judging scores, because I find that the pieces come alive when they are filled out with the person whose hands created them.  I love when the maker wears their own garment.

So tonight, I had a chair, and a clipboard, and a list of the garments at my disposal, and I felt like Nina Garcia on Project Runway, judging the work as it came down the runway.  Wow.  I cannot say how this experience has changed the way I judge a garment.  I did get to preview the garments backstage before the show, but the garments came alive as they walked across the stage, and down the runway, I was really really blown away by some of the garments that just looked like nothing on the hangers.

I couldn’t actually take pictures of the pieces, I was too busy scribbling notes!  After the fashion show, dessert was served, and then, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Michigan League of Handweavers, a vintage garment retrospective fashion show took place.  This was so much fun.  I laughed and squealed in delight, as I recognized fashion looks from the early years of handwoven clothing.  I have been weaving clothing since the 1970’s, and this represented a history I really remember.  I did manage to snap a few shots, the first model out wore, what else, but a 1950’s handwoven apron!

vintage_3Of course every weaver remembers the horse blanket reversible poncho from handspun yarns.  And then came the 60’s cotton shift, this one had cutouts in the waist area, it even had the fringe at the hem!  And then who hasn’t made a leno skirt and shawl!  I loved the orange color of this set.

Millie Danielson, a long time member of MLH, moderated this retrospective of vintage works, and some of the pieces were actually hers.

vintage_2This very vintage ensemble of Millie’s featuring yellow hotpants, brought the house down.  The commercial decorator fringe really completed the outfit!  All that was missing were the white go-go boots!

vintage_1Millie also created this outrageous coat, woven with warp remnants tied into the structure with Ghiordes knots.  I don’t know what year she wove it, but it was a pretty impressive piece.  And the model carried the whole look off effortlessly!

The finale of the retrospective show, featured none other than our own fashion icon, Anita Mayer, who wore Ann Flora’s  contemporary felted coat and hat.anita_annflora It was a stunning piece, and she looked fabulous in it.

I of course, wore my now infamous Frosted Florals dress.  Not only did I get to sign a few autographs on page 81 of the current issue of Threads Magazine where it appeared in the Readers’ Closet pages, but the latest issue of Shuttle Spindle and Dyepot has just come out on the newstands, and there were a number of copies floating around, with my new article on the Convergence Challenge project.  I’ve gotten some very kind emails so far, telling me what a wonderful piece Loretta and I created.   I got to autograph a number of those issues as well.  My friend Robyn Spady has two articles in that issue, and since she was teaching across the hall from me, there was a lot of autographing going on!

So, tomorrow I do the final judging for the show, and I will write all my comments and choose the winners.  Stay tuned…

Comments (1)

JennyAugust 8th, 2009 at 2:45 pm

You have become a celebrity/star in fiber fashion world! Found out my roomate at MAFA has taken a class and reads the blog. (Hi Joy). She perfectly undersood when I mentioned that I HAD to obtain a dress form to designb on because I now have an overwhelming desire to wear handwovens. (Not counting vintage ponchos and such).

BIG credit card damage at Silk City today….new colors of 5/2 perle cotton, discounted 5/2 Ivory to dye, and a bunch of Bambu.

You also inspired me to enter the MAFA fashion show. Was SO nervose, but it was just fine. Modeled one of my Kerr Grabowski scarves with great sucess.

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