Monday, September 30, 2013

Fashion Illustration: Vintage-Inspired Plaid Dress #1

One of the projects I have left to do for my certificate program is to design and illustrate four garments to go in my Line & Proportion notebook.  Each garment has to be the same type - for example, all pantsuits, or ballgowns, or cocktail dresses.  Since I'm stuck on plaid and love vintage clothing, I decided to do little vintage-inspired plaid dresses for all of my garments.

Each drawing must be shown on a different body type*:

Rectangle:  Medium to broad shoulders, small to medium bust, medium waist, medium hip.
Triangle: Narrow shoulders, medium to small bust, small waist, full hip.
Inverted Triangle: Broad to medium shoulders, large bust, medium to large waist, narrow hip.
Hourglass: Medium shoulders, full bust, small waist, full hip.

  Lastly, each drawing should be an example of a stylistic genre**.  The four genres we were assigned, and some common design characteristics:

Exotic - jewel tones, animal prints, mixed prints
Romantic - soft colors, florals, flowy fabrics
Town & Country - neutrals, equestrian-inspired, preppy
Classic - solid colors, simple prints, very simple designs

For my first dress, I was designing for a Triangle figure type in the Exotic style.  I sketched the dress a few weeks ago and loved the idea of doing a bright plaid taffeta with black guipure lace accents, with a shape inspired by the all the fabulous cheongsams worn by Maggie Cheung in In The Mood For Love.  It was definitely interesting to think about how to design something that is inspired by another culture, but keep it from being too literal or appropriative.  I was very happy with the design I came up with; I think it echoes the inspiration without copying it wholesale.

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  This afternoon, I grabbed my pens and Prismacolor colored pencils, traced the pencil sketch onto another piece of paper, and inked the outline.  I had to spend an hour or so developing the plaid pattern, since I didn't have a fabric sample to work from.  I think the only thing I didn't quite capture is the texture of the fabric - crisp and rich, with a soft glow.  Then I had to think about the construction of the dress and how it would affect the plaid and seam matching.  (I've been thinking a lot about seam-matching lately, because of the plaid love affair!)

The lace was really fun to ink, but took forever, so I listened to Starjay Knits and drew zillions of circles with dots around them for a few hours!  Now my hand hurts, but I'm a quarter done with the assignment, and almost caught up the podcast.  Hooray!

*These are general guidelines - most people, including myself, are a combination of these.  For this exercise, we're supposed to design to flatter each body type using the guidelines we learned in the class.  I have some differing opinions on the subject, but I also think it's interesting and constructive to learn the "rules".

**Again, I have my own thoughts about these genres, particularly Exotic, which can be a very problematic word because of the frequent sexualization and commodification of marginalized cultures.

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