Lumiere; lessons learnt

development pages yuli-1Dear friends, it’s been too long since I’ve updated you on my latest project! Right after the last project on clothes for the blind ended, I left for a two week trip to Portugal and Spain over the Christmas break and literally hit the ground running after I returned.

This quarter, we were tasked to create clothes from architecture and music combined and since I had the privilege for seeing the Guggenheim museum in Bilbao for myself, I chose it for my inspiration, along with my favourite modern composer, Dustin O’ Halloran.

After working with very literal and functional ideas last quarter, my mind suddenly felt so free to play with the abstract shapes offered by the museum. Panels of metal floated in anti-gravity like positions and magically came together to form a canopy that housed 9 regular and 9 irregular-shaped galleries. Modelled after a ship, the museum also had an interesting wavy interior to give a person the feeling of being on the deck of a boat at sea.

The key thing I took away from the museum was the nature of its titanium exterior. The metal enabled the museum to change colour under different weather conditions- from dark brown under shade to silver under strong sunlight. The outfit I made referenced the museum at night with blue and grey hues.

development pages yuli-3As with every quarter, things were getting more intense early into our 10 weeks. By the third week, we needed to have designs, fabric and initial drapings done. Our first toile had to be out by then and boy, working with abstract shapes and draping at the same time was proving to be more challenging to my logical mind than I expected. My coat changed shapes twice through our 10 weeks and underwent tremendous fabric research before it was perfected. We were often told to have samples of the seams, finishings and fusings we were going to use. However this quarter I learnt that sometimes, you could have ironed as many problems out in the sampling stage but when you got to the doing the actual thing, problems can happen.

My fabric of choice, lurex, gave off a beautiful iridescent look, much like liquid frozen in motion which I loved. But lurex is fragile and hard to handle. In this case, it was made of metal wires weaved together with shiny plastic and because I decided to double face my fabric to imitate the leanness of metal, every time I had to staystitch or turn the fabric inside out, the metal wires would get more unstable and fray. After doing my final coat the first time, I looked at it and knew that I couldn’t let it be. So I tried another method of hand stitching the allowance and turning everything inside out at one go but to my frustration, the fabric was still tearing. It was too fragile to be kept for long, what more sold or loaned to anyone. So finally, I dipped into my creative mind and fused the lurex with silk organza which made it so much stronger that nothing came apart and looked so good and crispy!

development pages yuli-5Throughout this quarter, I learnt to take designing one step at a time, especially with draping. I could plan as much as I wanted but often, what was drawn would turn out different on the mannequin. Also, I was constantly changed to think creatively and solve new kinds of problems every day to the point that it became a habit. But at the same time, it was important to know when to step back and review whether what has been created is inline with everything else.

So, I leave you with some pictures of the development process of three different garments and a textile I did (to imitate the metal panels on the museum).

photo 4
Initial drapings on a mini mannequin
photo 2
Draping of different coloured fabrics to decide the skirt’s look
photo 4
Ever changing colour panels imitating the museum’s exterior

photo 5 photo 2 photo 3

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