Tuesday, September 7, 2010


The Boudicca label came to my attention when Jovana mentioned a particular collection which consisted of one very interesting huggable jacket. As a lover of anything black and white or monochromatic i was initially drawn to the simplicity in colour thats exists in the above collection. But upon closer inspection the design details come through. There is a sense of simplicity or gothic classicism that exists in the garments, heightened by the structural and architectural forms and silhouettes present. A slight femininity somehow finds place in large pleated skirts juxtaposing the harsh masculinity. There's a beautful balance between the elements of form and this is perefectly matched in fabrication. A matte gloss, stiff drape, sleek and voluminous where needed; the fabrics were diverse, but moulded together, a dark fusion that accentuated the desired silhouette and gave way to sharp forms. But within all the diversity within the range, it was constructed or balanced in a way that it seemed to melt into itself.

NEW YORK, February 10, 2006
By Laird Borrelli
"Mind-boggling—in a good way," is how one editor described Zowie Broach and Brian Kirkby's remarkable Boudicca collection. Titled An Invisible City, this was the most pure—if somewhat indulgent—distillation to date of the label's vision. Never one to understate matters, Broach described that goal backstage as a quest "to forge the identity of a future of design that is not just about making clothes, but the craftsmanship."

As with most Boudicca collections, this one was about breaking down categories and conventions. Broach and Kirkby dissected shirts and tuxedos to come up with boleros made from the collar and shoulders of a jacket; strap-on waistcoats; skirts with attached vests; and shirts with jacket lapels. Some were more conceptual than wearable, but others—a leather jacket styled like a shirt, a sharp trouser, a high-neck shirt—weren't.

The real drama of the collection, though, came from the designers' attempt to, as they put it, "challenge the pleat," folding material to create astounding architectural constructions. Something that looked like a (relatively) straightforward suit from the front, for instance, was likely to be sporting a bustle at back. Seen from the side, the models, surrounded by fans of pleats, looked like intergalactic Degas dancers—just the kind of girls one might expect to find in an invisible city.

Saturday, August 21, 2010


My favourite illustrator has always been Aubrey Beardsley. I'm not 100% sure why, but i think i'm drawn to the dreamlike images he illustrates. I like art to be another form of escapism, though sometimes what appears to be fantasy is a depiction of reality. I guess i have conflicting ideas. But to the point, once again i'm trying to find inspiration, and I've always been captivated by Beardsley's illustrations, so i'm trying to get the ball rolling.


Trying to find inspiration for my own collection and jacket. the first 2 images are jackets by Vivienne Westwood, circa 2000-01. above is a jacket and shirt by Comme des Garcons that i found intriguing also. I think all 3 play with the fundamental elements of the jacket but maintain a sense of classic elegance. Which leads me to the images below of jackets from the 1940's and 1950's. I also added a image of one the screen sirens of that era, though I've forgotten her name, as it has in a way informed my designs. I find that there is a beautiful fusion of feminine sensuality and assertion of strength, class, and elegance in the designs of that era, which i admire and would love to emulate in my own designs.

Friday, August 6, 2010


Close inspection of the jacket, with the removal of the lining, demonstrates the detail required in constructing the garment, where specifics of the internal structure inform the external and thus fit and aesthetics of the garment. Between genders, distinct difference lie in the enhancement of the chest region, where less or none is used in womens to soften the bust, unlike men's jacket that utilise canvas, felt and wadding to add structure, reinforcing the male silhouette. Front pieces are fused, as well as pocket oppenings and dart apex to maintain the struture and stiffened drape of the garment. Shoulder pads are constructed with foam pieces wedged between layers of wadding, these extend a little over the armhole, assisting the shoulder role which is sewn in with the sleeve, consisting of further layers of felt and wadding. The shoulder roll allows the smooth natural curve of the sleeve head. Different weights of fusing are used on the lapel, under and top collars. The general white fusing is used on the top collar and reappears around the arm hole, lapel, and body oof the jacket front. A stiff cotton fusing is used on the under collar, mainting the strength of its stand. Soft netted fusing appears around the back neck and travels around the head of the arm hole. Fusing is used around the neck and arm to add stability to areas that see regular stress. An interesting additon is a tab or tape found on the shoulder pad at the head of the sleeve, in this case, used to keep the lining in place when joined to the outer shell of the jacket. Once the two pieces have been joined, the jacket is bagged out throught the sleeve and the seam is handsewn.

Anatomy of the tricks of trade
"Just as the chassis of a car must support the body, so the strong yet subtle framework of a jacket helps it to keep its shape when worn...before the lining and trimming have been added."
Summer 1949).

1. Shoulder Pads
2. Felt lining that gives added firmness to chet and armholes

3. Woolen chest piece reinforces the
chest, placed over fabric informing the garment
4. Woolen fabric forming, along with the chest pie
ce, the framework of the garment
5. Crooss-cut band edging the chest piece
6. Braid to strengthen the fold in lapels
7. Braid strengthening the edges to prevent deformation of the lapels

8. Braid around armhole to keep it firm when sleeve is added

9. Buckram stiffener to make po
cket sturdier 10. Pocket and ticket pocket lining.

(A History of Men's Fashion, Pin Stripes and Black Leather 1940-1990, p. 226, Chenoune.F, Flammarion 1993)



Upper Above, French singer Jacques Dutronic in minet silhouette, 1965. Above, High-buttoned double-breasted blazer by Ted Lapidus, circa 1966.

My favorite period in men's fashion would have to be the early-mid 1960's. i dont think you can look past the classic slim suit which has seen a revival recently. its all about the slim pants, and a jacket longer in length, with a nipped
waist and narrow shoulders. In France they called it the minet silhouette. Sleek, sophisticated and flattering to the male physique is how i see it.


Upper Above, Giorgio Armani design, 1986-1987. Above, Hugo Boss advertisment, late 1980's.

It would seem that in the 1980's men's and women's fashions took on a similar evolution, though the impact was greater for women, with the shift in gender roles influencing the change of silhouette. For women it was all about asserting their roles as working women, equal to their male counterparts. It's sad to think that it took centuries and many brave feminists to get women to such a point in western society that they could finally be independent of men, and expressed this sense of freedom through dress. And i think, whether deliberately or not, men wanted some sense of masculinity to remain in their dress, even though, looking at the era, men seemed more adventourous and at times feminine. So perhaps there was a switch in roles but the strong oversized shoulder existed to prevent men from feeling emasculated, and women from feeling inferior.

Images from 'A History of Men's Fashion' , Farid Chenoune, Flammarion 1993.

1950's Britain

It's intersting to see how social and poltical activities inform fashion, as much as some would like to seperate the two.
With the end of WW2, Europe saw itself under a lot of strife financially, so of course the US leant a hand and was able to establish its self as one the global super powers. This eventually lead to the Cold War, where both he US and the USSR fought to appoint themselves super powers, and began the battle between the Communists and Captalists.
What does this have to do with fashion you ask? Well the war allowed the US to impose its influence on Europe in all aspects. this is the time when globalisation and consumerism began to flourish, and the capitalist system began sprouting its greedy, money-grabbing hands, (not that im opposed to it all). This all relates to the image above, as it depicts Britain's reaction to US influence in the 1950's. The British upper class adopted fashions present during the reign of Edward VII, which involved vests, narrow trousers, velvet collars, bowler hats, gloves and rolled umbrellas. This new, adopted British style was described as The Neo-Edwardian movement.

Then there were the Teddy Boys. These boys hung around the working class regions of London, they weren't aristocrats , in fact these were gangs of boys who carried a somewhat satorial sense of fashion. The look evolved from the edwardian movement, as these boys adopted it as their uniform. This led to a disdain towards the Edwardian, as these youths were responsible for post-war violance in the streets of London; carrying out racially motivated beatings, brawls in dance halls, muggings and vandalism. The Teddy look is represented in the image, right, where four-button jackets fell around the thigh, and were made with no CB seam. This was accompanied by drainpipe trousers and crepe-soled shoes.
This look was so associated with the violence in and around London during the '50's that strict dress codes were set in some areas of society, where Teds would be rejected from some social activites and public arenas as hooligan behaviour had been attributed as a characteristics of Teds.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Zoot Suit

I dont think much attention is genrally given to mens fashion, because it can seem somewhat monotonous to some, with the same idea and elements continuing through each season. And i guess there's also the male physique to consider which can seem too regular, without the lumps and bumps and beautiful curves found on a woman. So upon looking through the history of mans fashion, ill admit i didnt really expect much, and being somewhat bias i do still appreciate women's fashion more. Howveer, having sadi that, i found this book called A History of Men's Fashion, Farid Chenoune, in the library and was intrigue by the styles and evolution of men's dress. There were a few styles that stood out to me belonging to particular eras and/or regions or cultures. One example was The Men's Dress Reform Party who were around durint the early 1930's and, despite having establishments in Great Britain, Austria, Canada and the French Riviera, eventually lost momentum.

Another style i found amusing was the zoot suit, seen here on young african men at the Savoy ballroom in 1938. Apparantly the Savoy in Harlam was the it place for blacks in the US, and saw the development of a somewhat comical yet refined style.
"... The men are surprisingly elegant in their long, roomy jackets like that of a fat man on some skinny fellow. Pants are tight at the ankle, falling in folds between he calf and shoe. Colours are both subdued and loud."
(Jacques-Lauren Bost, Trois Mois aux Etas-Unis, 1946).

The zoot suit came about sometime around 1935 in Harlem nghtclubs, such as the Savoy. The outfit consisted of an oversized jacket with wide shoulders that fell around the knees and were matched with low-crotched zoot pants that were worn with suspenders and would sit high above the waist, tight till they gradually skimmed the hips, bagged around the thighs and narrowed toward the ankle. It was an eccentric look that was finished with a bright tie and hankerchief, an "endless watchchain, and a wide-brimmed hat." ( Chenoune. F, 1993). On thinking of what this suit might look like, my first thought was of Jim Carey in The Mask, in a scene where he's on a date at some jazzy bar wearing a bright yellow zoot suit and wide-brimmed hat, perfectly matched with his bright green masked face. There's a sense of class and frivolity in this style that i would match to the shimmy dresses of the 1920's.

It's intersting to consider the foundations of the zoot suit and the ideas behind it, and i thinkthis passage explains it perfecty, "..There was a certain tradito behind such stylishness. Like workers who were proud of their clean and tidy clothing, taking care of their appearance and dressing up in their Sunday best on holidays, American Blacks - especially musicians - rejected the affected slovenliness of bohemian artists who has tried to set themseves apart from upper-middle class sociey starting in the 19th century. Black musicians wanted fine suits, magnificent ties, shiney shoes. There was only one way to dess - up...The zoot suit was not just the latest expression of this dream of gentility, it was the first tem to constitute a real fashion exploit. Prior to the zoot suit, stylish Blacks had, of course, already influenced male dress, particularly in New Ypork and Paris in the 1920's, among high society and shady circles that frequented black nightclubs in Montmarte and Montparnasse. But their impact had remained limited. The zoot suit, on the other hand, would model the look of many a gentleman during the 1940's, even inspiring the "bold look" promoted byt the fashion industry in 1947." (Chenoune. F, 1993)