Big Red Carpet Bows at Viktor and Rolf

Big Red Carpet Bows at Viktor and Rolf | The Cutting Class. Viktor and Rolf, Haute Couture, AW14, Paris.

Viktor and Rolf, Haute Couture, AW14, Paris.

Some designers like to present a collection as though it’s a new wardrobe; a collection of different clothes for different occasions that are either centred around a theme, or simply styled together. Other designers like to take a single idea and push it to the limit by creating many different permutations of the same concept. It was the latter approach that was at play for the recent Viktor and Rolf couture collection where it was all about the red carpet.

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Glossary: Fastenings

Glossary: Fastenings | The Cutting Class. Chanel, Haute Couture, AW14, Paris. Fastenings reference busk hardware of corsets.

Chanel, Haute Couture, AW14, Paris.

Examples of back fastening details that were used in the Chanel Autumn-Winter 2014 couture collection that appeared to be based on the same hardware that would normally be used as a closure on the busks of corsets. The busk section is usually used in the front of corsets, while the corset lacing is used at the back.

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Encrusted Fabrics & Sculpted Silhouettes at Chanel

Encrusted Fabrics and Sculpted Silhouettes at Chanel | The Cutting Class. Chanel, Haute Couture, AW14, Paris.

Chanel, Haute Couture, AW14, Paris.

The sheer size of the Chanel couture collections, combined with the technical abilities of the crafts people who work on the collections, always creates a need to view the collection from afar and up close. In this way you can appreciate the silhouettes and proportions of the garments, and then look closer to see the insane level of detail in the fabrics and materials.

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Draping and Moulage

Draping and Moulage | The Cutting Class. Progress image of draping on a Hervé L. Leroux garment for couture SS13.

Work in progress on a dress for the label Hervé L. Leroux from the Spring-Summer 2013 couture collection.

While many designers design garments that can be created using flat pattern making techniques, other garments are created by working directly on a mannequin using techniques often referred to as “draping” or “moulage”. There are a couple of things to keep in mind when working in this way if you are using draping techniques to develop your own designs.

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Glossary: Princess Panel Lines

Glossary: Princess Panel Lines | The Cutting Class. Christian Dior, Haute Couture, AW14, Paris. Bodice seam lines continue from the armhole down over the bust and to the waist.

Christian Dior, Haute Couture, AW14, Paris.

Here are a couple of examples of how princess panel lines were used in the Christian Dior haute couture collection for Autumn-Winter 2014. The example images show how the seam line can begin from the armhole or from the shoulder line, continuing down through or close to the bust point, and down through the waist.

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Structural Waist Shaping at Dior Couture

Structural Waist Shaping at Dior Couture | The Cutting Class. Christian Dior, Haute Couture, AW14, Paris.

Christian Dior, Haute Couture, AW14, Paris.

For the Christian Dior couture collection for Autumn-Winter 2014, the first section of the show was devoted to Raf Simons’ experiments with silhouette. More specifically the silhouettes seemed to reference the dress shapes of the 18th century, but in terms of technique the Dior dresses used more contemporary combinations of panels, tucks and pleats to create the necessary shaping and fullness in the fabric.

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Creating Cartridge Pleats

Creating Cartridge Pleats | The Cutting Class. Alexander McQueen, AW13, Paris.

Alexander McQueen, AW13, Paris.

Cartridge pleats are a detail that you may associate with historical and period costume as they are often used to create Elizabethan ruffs and provide fullness on skirts. The labour intensive detail does however have the sort of beautiful structure that is often used in contemporary garments, and can easily be appropriated into collections today as both a structural or decorative detail.

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Glossary: Glen Plaid

Glossary: Glen Plaid | The Cutting Class. Alexander McQueen, Menswear, SS15, London. Glen plaid panelled with plain and houndstooth suiting.

Alexander McQueen, Menswear, SS15, London.

An example of fabric woven with a glen plaid pattern, mixed with plain and houndstooth suiting from the Spring-Summer 2015 Menswear show at Alexander McQueen. You may also see glen plaid named as glen check or “Prince of Wales” check.

The weave structure for a glen plaid is based on a twill weave that is used to create the different squares of patterns within the weave.

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Glossary: Fastenings

Glossary: Fastenings | The Cutting Class. Christopher Kane, RST15, London. Clip fastenings used on waist and as shoulder detail.

Christopher Kane, RST15, London.

An example of a more unusual type of garment fastening from Christopher Kane’s Resort 2015 collection. In this example one clip has been used to create a belted effect by pulling on the waist of the garment. A second clip has been used to form a shoulder strap to balance out the asymmetry of the neckline.

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Christopher Kane’s Sheer Layering, Prints, Pleats and Embroidery

Christopher Kane's Sheer Layering, Prints, Pleats and Embroidery | The Cutting Class. Christopher Kane, RST15, London.

Christopher Kane, RST15, London.

There is never a shortage of ideas at play in a Christopher Kane collection. In fact, the Autumn-Winter 2014 collection could have been split into about 9 different mini collections. For the recent Christopher Kane pre-collection the garments showed experiments with sheer and printed fabrics, clever pattern cutting details and a reappearance of some signature neon and lace as well.

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Glossary: Sequins

Glossary: Sequins | The Cutting Class. Givenchy, AW14, Paris.

Givenchy, AW14, Paris.

Example of flat, long sequins used to embellish a garment from the Autumn-Winter 2014 collection at Givenchy. We commonly think of sequins as being the circular, cup-shaped style, but sequins come in many different shapes, sizes and textures and can be layered to create different effects.

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Balance, Proportion and Focus at Craig Green

Balance, Proportion and Focus at Craig Green | The Cutting Class. Craig Green, Menswear, SS15, London.

Craig Green, Menswear, SS15, London.

The praise and hype surrounding the recent Craig Green collection for Spring-Summer 2015 will inevitably be balanced by snide remarks about how people can’t wear their bed frames and sheets to the shops when they just want to go pick up a pint of milk. For this reason, and as part of an analysis of the Craig Green collection, it is a good opportunity to consider the different ways that a collection is viewed and appreciated.

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Glossary: Appliqué

Glossary: Appliqué | The Cutting Class. Christopher Shannon, Menswear, SS15, London.

Christopher Shannon, Menswear, SS15.

Examples of appliqué used on garments at the Christopher Shannon collection for SS15. In this example the appliqué appears to be attached using different methods. At time the shapes appear to be attached using topstitching, while other sections appear to be attached using a fusible backing.

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Glossary: Splits

Glossary: Splits | The Cutting Class. J. W. Anderson RST15.

J. W. Anderson, RST15.

An example of splits in a tailored jacket from the J.W. Anderson Pre-Collection for Spring-Summer 2015. Splits are often used on the hems of skirts to help the wearer to have more movement when walking. While splits or vents are often used in the back of jackets, they have been used here as an extension of the front panel lines.

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Fabrics and Details from Chanel’s Supermarket

Fabrics and Details from Chanel's Supermarket | The Cutting Class. Chanel, AW14, Paris.

Chanel, AW14, Paris.

It would be easy to be distracted by the supermarket set and the accessories wrapped in plastic at the Chanel show and miss out on a chance to see how the attention to detail extended to the fabrics and garment construction. From cinched waists and geometric quilting to ring pull brooches and chanel security tags, the collection was filled with tiny details. And this is even aside from spotting the “CC” logo and any use of tweed, chains and pearls.

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