Balance and proportion in an outfit are ways to trick the viewing eyes into seeing the body differently. As a fashion designer you can be creative and use different ways to make the eye see a body in a different way.
The eye naturally finds a balanced body or face shape more appealing. The goal with many styling exercises is creating an hour glass figure i.e. large top balanced by a large bottom and skinny in the middle.
This does not mean as a fashion designer we should design everything to create this ‘hourglass’ shape and I don’t believe we should all dress to create this particular shape. However, it does provide a good example of how to create balance in clothing. By putting a belt on the waist you can evenly divide the body – The eyes will find this a good marker.
Ladies with long bodies and shorter legs can lengthen their bottom half by raising the waistline up. Take a look at the following designs from Alberta Ferretti.
The top of the skirt line is higher than elbow height and shortens the body length: making the models legs and lower torso look longer.
Outfits 1 and 2 are similar – A-line floaty top and wide floaty trousers. However, there are key differences that make each outfit better suited to different body shapes.
Outfit 1. The top is longer (to wrist level) and floats over the trousers. This is good for ladies with a short torso as it is elongating the torso. The all white colour scheme adds to this lengthing.
The longer top length can take the lower v-neckline. This is a better shape for larger busts.
Outfit 2. The shorter red top hits about waist height and is balanced with a large bold print on the bottom half. This is great if you want focus on your waist as the red top draws the eye there. If the top was patterned like the trousers, a red belt in the middle would nicely define the waist so you have a figure instead of being a mass of pattern. The high neckline balances out the shorter length of the top. This high neckline and short length would not be very flattering on larger busted ladies: the A-line shape would sit like a tent from your bust.
Outfit 3. The trousers in this outfit taper down to the ankles. The shape of the trousers is very flattering – loose and skimming on the thighs and narrow at the slimmest part, focusing your eyes on the ankles.
The soft lines of the lemon jacket below in example 1 from Carolina Herrera would soften a lady with an angular figure. The outfit proportions are balanced out i.e. the skirt is shorter than knee length and the top half is fully covered – the lemon to skin ratio is about even.
Let’s compare the sleeve length in example 1 to example 2 from Carolina Herrera’s spring summer 2015 collection. The eye is drawn to the end of the sleeve. In example two the focus is on the waist in the middle of the body. In example one the focus is dropped lower than the waist line but not as far as the hips.
I’ve been in the studio playing with new ideas and coming up with different designs. It’s nice to get back to that again.
As well as fashion design I’ve also been playing a bit with other creative avenues. I’ve been planning my wedding with Mr CS and it has allowed me (given me the excuse) to stretch my creative wings in different directions.
I love flowers and floristry, so I thought, why not?! I have developed quite a specific idea through photos in magazines and pinterest regarding what I want at the wedding, flower wise for bouquet and table decor. So through the help of You tube videos, a couple of books I’ve purchased and some tips from a friend who’s been on a flower course I started to experiment and practice.
To start practicing and trying techniques out I bought some flowers that were not in the best state (heavily discounted – end of shelf life). I thought I’d share with you some of my first experiements!
You can see in the bouquets I was squeezing the stalks together too tightly – resulting in the flowers being squashed together.
I then went on to try a different way of creating a bouquet because I really want to have a cascading bouquet for the wedding. For this I purchased a handle. This comes with foam in it which you soak and then insert the foliage and flowers.
This is the start of building up a shape on the bouquet holder:
Here I am trialling and creating a shape out for a table display:
So I am definately no expert, but I have enjoyed my foray into floristry. It won’t be for everyone and I’m yet to do it for the wedding – I will let you know how that goes!
I first encountered Marlene Dumas’ work in New York at the MoMa museum. I found her work strange and beautiful, refreshing and stark, modern and classic. I had to have the book Marlene Dumas: Measuring Your Own Grave when I saw it in NYC. I am booking tickets for this exhibit in London.
What is luxury? – The V&A (25th April – 27th September 2015) A variety of craft discipline from haute couture to a watchmaker. This exhibition will explore the future of luxury ask questions about its role in society.
Barbara Hepworth: Sculpture For A Modern World – Tate Britain (24th June – 25th October 2015) This is the first major exhibition in London for almost 50 years of the work by Barbara Hepworth. I love Hepworth’s work and find it to be very inspiring as a designer, especially her sculptures.
If you are ever in Cornwall, go to St Ives, her home, garden and art studio are well worth a visit.
Exploring the Chinese influence on western fashions. The exhibition will juxtopose high fashion with Chinese objects.
Sadly I will miss this one, I do with the big fashion exhibitions would go on for a bit longer. 4 months is not long at all and I think fashion exhibitions are a big draw for those going to the visit the museums.
and whilst you are there (because the entry fee to the museum includes everything) go and see;
On Friday I went to the Wellcome Collection in London which I thoroughly enjoyed. This is a gallery/museum that is a little bit different to others. As a designer and being a curious person I enjoy going to exhibitions and learning new things. I find that inspiration can come from anywhere, you never know when the creative spark may happen!
The main exhibition they have on at the moment is called Forensics: The Anatomy of Crime. It takes you through the development of the different areas of forensics through time. You can look at an 18th Century miniature scaled model of a house that has a murder scene in it (the set of houses are still used in Forensic Police training today).
They showed the development of the autopsy. Then taking you right through to today with current developments in virtual autopsies the ‘virtopsy’. You could see the first crime scene photographs and listen to experts explain how it works in their part of forensics. It was very interesting. I really would have liked to have heard a lot more about each of the areas in depth but I’m guessing that would have made it a huge exhibition!
I love a gallery or museum shop. In the Wellcome Collection they had a great range of books that seemed quite different than you can find elsewhere. They also had an unusual selection of gifts and bits and pieces to buy. I could have bought a lot but in the end I bought 1 book!
I would definitely recommend this FREE exhibition as you will certainly learn a lot!
They also have a great little cafe that gets very busy. I wanted to eat in the restaurant upstairs (it looks nice) but I was too early for dinner (starts at 6pm) and I didn’t fancy afternoon tea.
Networking events – If you aren’t at them then you are missing out.
Sure, I’ve been to a few duds. But more often than not, I have met some very interesting people and formed some good connections. They are opportunities to help one another forward our lives, business and career. This could be in the form of joint ventures, creating opportunities for talking at events or recommending a mentor for you.
Don’t think of it in direct correlation of networking = sales if you are in business.
Do offer something you can do for the other person when you make a connection. We all have something to offer – it is a two way connection.
Here we are in February. Are you feeling a little deflated because you didn’t achieve enough in January or your resolutions were not so resolute?
I think it’s time to get out and get inspired. Whether you love art and fashion, whether you’ve never been to an exhibit before or you’re an avid member; there is a lot to see. I’ve selected some great art and fashion exhibitions it will be worth seeing in February and some food ideas too (because seeing exhibitions makes me hungry!).
If you’re in NYC go to The Brooklyn Museum for the Killer Heels: The Art of the High-Heeled Shoe (September 10, 2014–February 15, 2015). Why not make a day of it and have brunch, see some other sites and then have a delicious dinner (a great day out on Sat 14th Feb!). I fancy trying Piquant for brunch and then take a 20 minute stroll to the Brooklyn Museum.
You could then pay a visit to the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens or Prospect Park Zoo. Once you have built up an appetite I would then take a walk back up through the park to Franny’s. Enjoy a relaxing lunch or dinner of seasonal Italian food in Franny’s no frills paired back space.
If you fancy going to the Rubens and Legacy: Van Dyck to Cezanne at the Royal Academy (24th January – 10th April 2015) you will need to buy a ticket. Once I’ve been to see an exhibition at the Royal Academy I like to head out onto Piccadilly. Depending on what I fancy I’ll either go to Waterstones (On Piccadilly) where they have an excellent cafe on the top floor,
for an afternoon tea I like Fortnum and Masons or for a high end dinner with friends I’ll book a table at a Hotel Cafe Royal.
If you want to take the kids to a free exhibition try the Grayson Perry: Who are you? at the National Portrait Gallery (25th October 2014-15th March 2015). You search out the Grayson Perry pieces that are dotted around and look at the other great portraits in between. I like the sound of the National Portrait ‘Portrait’ restaurant on the third floor. But if you are looking for something a little bit more low key with the kids I’d take a walk over to the Jamies Italian at Piccadilly Circus.
I was determined to go to some exhibitions in January. With so many exciting looking exhibits coming up in both art and fashion, I needed to get on and see some!
I decided to start in London with Women Power and Style at the Design Museum. It was a lovely bright day out but bitterly cold in the wind. This kind of weather is perfect for walking in London as long as you stay off the main wind channels! So I walked from Liverpool Street to the Design Museum. I crossed the Thames over Tower Bridge and it all looked beautiful.
I arrived, had a coffee and pastry and then headed in. The exhibition starts off in a modest fashion, with pictures of women from the past such as Boudicca, Eve (from Adam and Eve!), Queen Victoria. As well as the present for instance; Angela Merckel, Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton. Looking at what they wear and how they create/created a powerful look.
The exhibition then follows in chronological order.
It starts with corsets, then suffragettes and then moves through the 20th Century and right into the 21st Century.
The Suffragette clothing were costumes from the upcoming movie ‘Suffragette’ which is going to star Meryl Streep as Emily Pankhurst. I’m really keen to see this. I’ve long been an admirer of Emily Pankhurst!!
There are clothes on display from women in power that are not necessarily ‘famous’ but are high achievers and powerful in their fields. For instance Megha Mittal, Anna Jones and Julia Peyton Jones all have outfits on display. It is interesting reading about their achievements and how their outfit or fashion plays a part in their world.
I had lunch at the Design Museum before walking along the SouthBank to Somerset House.
At the Somerset House they have an exhibition of Guy Bourdin’s work. Guy Bourdin was a photographer, best known for his fashion photography. This exhibition was £9 for adults. Great value for this (for me unexpectedly) huge exhibition with video, tons of photo prints and ‘behind the images’ sketches and ideas.
I love Guy Bourdins fun, tongue in cheek, slightly surreal and beautiful images. Well worth a visit if you like a bit of fashion photography.
It seems a while now since I first got into discussions with the lovely Kate (a la Pouting In Heels). We were discussing her upcoming photoshoot and what she was going to wear.
Well, the result of the photoshoot was beautiful. It is a real example of how pretending to be someone else can give you confidence behind the camera. Try it next time someone says ‘say cheese’ – you may end up feeling more yourself than ever!
You can see she is a complete natural behind the camera in this blog article featuring a dress from my one of my collections!
I like the way she has styled the dress with the trench – a nice combo of smart and casual. I look forward to seeing more styling on her blog, she obviously has a flare for it.
It’s always nice to see how different people style and wear my designs.
See here how one of my fav bloggers Keeley (the British Fashionista) styles one of my dresses (JoJo) with exactly the right amount of accessories for a smart work city look. She added some smart heels, a great bag, big sunnies and some subtle jewellery.