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Saturday, June 04, 2005

Chicago Gold Coast Fashion Report

I had a GREAT time combing through racks of top designer fashions in Saks, Neiman, Bloomingdales, Chanel, etc. this week in downtown Chicago.

Some observations I think you'll find interesting, inspiring, and even entertaining...
  • a 5' plus long pleated scarf - maybe 8" wide. Could certainly be done on the Perfect Pleater. Stitched down the center, a long, very skinny bias cording . This was a wonderful scarf. I can also see having fabric pleated to do this. I know San Fransisco Pleating Company can do that to fabric for you. I may just have to do these in Orange with blue center strip for my www.londas-illiniwear site...

  • RAW EDGES! Especially on knits and lightweight mesh/net and silk chiffon edges. Tucks sewin on the outside as texture. Large, square pieces for drapes and skirts. Lots of bias cut skinny strips sewn around and around the yoke area of skirts. Skinny elastic tucked up, stretched and stitched between an outer and lining layer on skirts.

  • At Antropologie - a very fun website, and place to visit - shuch shabby chic things - but to see that concept done well --- "'classed up" in fabric and fabrications by the designers was the real treat for me! Anthropologie was just too too - if you know what I mean. I don't think it's quite totally 'right' for us baby-boomers - IMHO. Some of the ideas, quieted down are fun though. Anyway - there is where I saw SO many raw edges. How about on a pair of paper bag pants, both the hem on legs and casing on top were turned to the outside of the garment, coverstitched with the loopy side of the stitch on the outside about 1/4" away from the raw edge of the hem/casing - which was let to hang and fray. Linen/Rayon. I liked that one - certainly EZ to sew!!!

  • Another great idea at Anthropologie was hooks from hooks and eyes and snaps - the silver ones, glued onto the top of a padded box as decoration on these Sewing Kits. In shapes of flowers, borders - absolutely TOO Cute!!!

  • Chanel: I saw this 'pleated' effect wool tweed skirt in the window one n ight - almost the "Carwash Skirt" effect - then was anxious to go in the next day to confirm that, yes - indeed, the edges of each section were just zig-zagged!!!!! Sections about 8" wide, overlapped about 1 1/2" from waist to hip - then 'loose' the remainder of the knee-length skirt. Both long edges were just zig-zagged as a finish. Amazingly....well, I just don't know quite how I feel about that!
  • Chanel: Jacket Peplums cut on the bias - unlined, unfinished .
  • Chanel: Black lace/mesh neting over a print chiffon in the top under a "Chanel" jacket - also used to line and vertically quilt together with the outer tweed fabric layer 'a la Chanel' technique. Still with the chain tacked inside the hem though to weight it down. I had Clair Shaeffer at my shop in 2003 and she gave a class on Chanel - what fun! Anyway - it gave me a somewhat 'Chanel-educated' eye with which to examine/evaluate things.
  • Lapel Flower at Chanel - and interestingly enough, the all seemed to be located on the garment's left side (everywhere). I myself always opt to put the shoulder decoration on the garment's right side, so as one is being looked at - and the effect 'read' - it 'reads' like a book: left to right... Anyway - back to the flower: simply multiple layers of chiffon circles stitched together flat, and adorned with some 'leafy shapes' of the jacket tweed fabric that had been fused onto Fusiknit to give some body.
  • Chanel Laced Trim. On a white texture-y tweedy fabric, black silk chiffon in bias strips - probably starting about 3" wide, just laced in a running stitch - about 2" penetrations along the neckline and front and sleeve edges. Raw white fabric edges beyond that, backed with a tiny ruffle of the bias cut black silk chiffon to complete the 'finish' of the neckline, front, and sleeve edges.

  • Tahari (from whom I have a bunch of fabric coming in, by the way!) Men-looking pin stripe wools in luscious, lightweight Italian wool in a jacket - then with a 'trim' of a bias cut strip of that same wool gathered up at tight as possible along both edges and used as a trim - only about 5/8" wide - along the upper collar edge and lapel/center front edges. Also then the same 'trim' as the welt on the diagonally placed welt pockets. That 'feminine touch' that seemed to prevail on everything - regardless of how tailored it was to start.

  • Godets everywhere! In skirts - naturally, but also as trim on an Armani Jacket! Picture a godet shape (pie shape) about 4" long, placed horizontally along a jacket front - with the wide part of the godet at the center front. Both the long edges of the godet stitched into horizontal seaming on the jacket, but placement such that the godet is floppy - or turns into a 'cone' 3-D shaped texture! This was in Armani's new Fall Line. $1395 for that jacket. I see why!
  • Also on an Armani Jacket - black wool flecky tweed (I have some of that fabric type coming!) trimmed with a WILD print binding on the jacket. Quite nice.

  • Akris Soft wool plaid jacket - brown (as was most everything coming in for Fall). Bias cut, double layer soft peplum on the jacket - unpressed lower edge so almost ruffly-like in a very soft (feminine) way.

  • Pucci stood out with amazing big, colorful Prints in his wool jackets - typically Pucci style. I didn't see any of that fabric to buy for you all, however! :(

  • Speaking of color - the brown, all tones of brown - from coppery to raisiny. A browned-down plum seemed prevalent as well. In general though - the more expensive it was - the less color it had.

  • Zig Zag Stitching - Lots and Lots of it as a finish! From Anthropoligie to Ann Taylor to Chanel and Armani - I saw this over and over again. Kind of like the designers found this 'new stitch' on their machines - or that their serger was broken. Though, there were lots of serged (both wide, regular and rolled hems) on edges as well. BUT, if the edge would work left raw - it certainly was!

  • Large floral prints in sheer skirts were the message in every designers' Spring/Summer lines - now on the sale racks, as the fall is coming in.

  • Award for the most preposterous pricing: holey jeans from Dolce and Gabbana at $1675. I suppose I'm supposed to be 'taken' by the 2" wide snakeskin strip down the side seams, bordered on each side with cheap-looking ecru netting. I passed these up for my own wardrobe. At Saks if you wanna run up and snatch them up for your own wardrobe! :)

  • Striking Texture Combination was a Rosey Pink Sheared Beaver short Jacket over a sosft, flowey silk chiffon and beaded evening gown. That cold Lake Michigan effect you know! This was absolutley stunning though.

  • Evening wear echoed the same slim top to flowy bottom silhouette I saw over and over in the Miss Universe Pagaent on 5/31. Just like I used to draw and design for my paper dolls as a kid...........

  • Riri Zipper Idea: Jumped out at me in an Armana Leather Jacket ($2375). An off-center zipper placement that extended up into a large 10" wide or so collar. Backside of the zipper then showed when the collar turned down - I'm definitely gonna play with this idea....

  • Soft Wool Plaid Bias Cut unlined wool pant - in a light tan color - with surprise black and white cotton print binding at the waist.


I hit the jackpot at a favorite design end house - an entire grouping of the finest Italian fabrics from designer Charles Chang Lima (check him out at t his link - or just Google for his name) that would normally range in price from $25 and UP.... and I will be able to offer them for half that!!!! Due in early July - along with lots of pieces from TAHARI as well. These are short cuts - 3-7 yards in most cases, on which I'll be offering a great "Full Piece Price".


Londa said...

A great online place to 'cruise' the designers...

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