design details

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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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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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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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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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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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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Fabrics and Hardware at Balenciaga

Fabrics and Hardware at Balenciaga | The Cutting Class. Balenciaga, AW14, Paris.

Balenciaga, AW14, Paris.

The Autumn-Winter 2014 collection at Balenciaga was filled with innovative textile details punctuated with unusual uses of zips, eyelets and branded belt plates.

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Fine Details and Contrasting Textures at Céline

Fine Details and Contrasting Textures at Céline | The Cutting Class. Céline, AW14, Paris.

Céline, AW14, Paris.

The Céline collection for Autumn-Winter 2014 used a muted colour palette to explore small garment details and finishing touches that included hairy centre back trims, chunky jewels and contrast buttonhole stitches.

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Watching Details Move Through Time at Anrealage

Watching Details Move Through Time at Anrealage | The Cutting Class. Anrealage, AW12, Tokyo.

Anrealage, AW12, Tokyo.

In the same way that some of the Futurist artists used stuttering lines to indicate speed and movement, Japanese label Anrealage was able to give the impression of blurry human movements, seen as though captured through the passing of time for the Autumn-Winter 2012 collection.

At first some of the garments trick the viewer into believing the photos are out of focus, with exaggerated silhouettes enhanced using prints and patterns that blur on the edges. However the effect is created through carefully considered print placements and precise pattern cutting.

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Loose Shapes and Wayward Dots at Jacquemus

Loose Shapes and Wayward Dots at Jacquemus | The Cutting Class. Jacquemus, AW14, Paris, Image 1.

Jacquemus, AW14, Paris.

The Autumn-Winter 2014 collection for Jacquemus had a naive and chunky quality to it with oversized silhouettes that swam around the bodies of the models, and organic polka dots that floated across the garments.

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The Fullness and Shaping of Sleeves: Part 3

The Fullness and Shaping of Sleeves Part 3 | The Cutting Class. Alexander Wang, AW13, New York.

Alexander Wang, AW13, New York.

This post forms the third part of a series about The Fullness and Shaping of Sleeves (read Part 1 or Part 2). In the first two posts we talked about how you need to make certain decisions about the fullness and angle of your sleeve. In this post we will talk about how you can then use seams, darts, gathers and tucks to shape the sleeve and body pieces of your garment.

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The Fullness and Shaping of Sleeves: Part 2

The Fullness and Shaping of Sleeves: Part 2 | The Cutting Class. Balenciaga Sleeves.

Balenciaga, unknown date, images via Pinterest»

In this post we will begin to look at how the angle of the sleeve affects the drape of fabric in the underarm area. We will also consider how the distance between the garment underarm and the actual underarm of the body will affect the amount of arm movement that the wearer has.

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