design details

Chanel’s Stylish Protest March

Chanel's Stylish Protest March | The Cutting Class. Chanel, SS15, Paris.

Chanel, SS15, Paris.

The Chanel Spring-Summer 2015 show set on “Chanel Boulevard” appeared to capture a very Chanel version of the mixture of people who are called onto the street during protest marches. Vibrant colours mingled with classic monochrome in the same way that office suits and tie-dye shirts can end up crossing paths on the streets of a city protest.

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Careful Proportions at Jil Sander

Careful Proportions at Jil Sander | The Cutting Class. Jil Sander, SS15, Milan.

Jil Sander, SS15, Milan.

For the Jil Sander Spring-Summer 2015 collection, basic garment shapes such as shorts, shirts, skirts and trousers were layered to create clean, functional looks. As is often the case when designers reinvent the basics, the newness of the collection came in the form of design tweaks to the fabrics and details. In particular, the proportions of the garments were carefully balanced with horizontal lines consistently drawn across the body by rolled shirt cuffs and dropped waistbands.

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Sneaker References at Alexander Wang

Sneaker References at Alexander Wang | The Cutting Class. Alexander Wang, SS15, New York.

Alexander Wang, SS15, New York.

Some of the best designers can get amazing mileage out of even the simplest of references. For the Spring-Summer 2015 collection at Alexander Wang all of the innovation pivoted around sneakers. Aside from the more literal sneaker references, which included trainers morphed into handbags or shoe lace plackets, the collection included well cut tailoring, layered panelling and perforated fabric with pleating that would make Madame Grès proud.

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Muted Tones and Soft Curves at Marc Jacobs

Muted Tones and Soft Curves at Marc Jacobs | The Cutting Class. Marc Jacobs, AW14, New York.

Marc Jacobs, AW14, New York.

After a spectacular final show at Louis Vuitton, the next collection by Marc Jacobs at Marc Jacobs was pared back and focused. The Autumn-Winter 2014 collection was filled with chalky pastels and smooth matt fabrics. There were also many curved elements, with gently arcing necklines and curved edges on panel lines, godets and underarm gussets.

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Leather and Knit Details at Louis Vuitton

Leather and Knit Details at Louis Vuitton | The Cutting Class. Louis Vuitton, AW14, Paris. Nicolas Ghesquière's debut collection for Louis Vuitton.

Louis Vuitton, AW14, Paris.

It was fitting for a house such as Louis Vuitton, that is so renowned for it’s leather goods, that the clothes in the Autumn-Winter 2014 collection reflected the craftsmanship and techniques required to handle leather with sensitivity. It was also interesting to see that the use of leather was balanced with experiments in comfortable and easy-to-wear knit garments. This combination of fabrics gave Nicolas Ghesquière a range of textures to pair and contrast in his first collection for Louis Vuitton.

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Sleeve Head Details at Chanel

Sleeve Head Details at Chanel | The Cutting Class. Chanel, Haute Couture, AW14, Paris.

Chanel, Haute Couture, AW14, Paris.

There were a couple of interesting techniques that were used in the Chanel couture collection around the sleeve head area which could easily be applied to other garments. These techniques may also prove helpful when working with fabrics that are hard to ease around the sleeve head area.

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Padded Links and Knots at Comme des Garçons

Padded Links and Knots at Comme des Garçons | The Cutting Class. Comme des Garçons, AW14, Paris.

Comme des Garçons, AW14, Paris.

The Comme des Garçons collections often include garments that envelope the body in a way that disregards the location of limbs, traditional erogenous zones and standard clothing proportions. In the Autumn-Winter 2014 collection, the models were often wrapped in padded tubes, which were weaved, wrapped and knotted around their bodies.

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Design and Construction Details from Margiela

Design and Construction Details from Margiela | The Cutting Class. Maison Martin Margiela, Couture, AW14, Paris. Clean white shirt.

Maison Martin Margiela, Couture, AW14, Paris.

With surreal embellished prawns and dresses covered in cut up cans and old coins, the Maison Martin Margiela couture collection was filled with bright and shiny details. Aside from these more superficial elements, there were also carefully considered construction details to provide cleaner lines in amongst the more outlandish garments.

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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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