Iris van Herpen @ROMToronto

#irisvanherpen #transformingfashion #royalontariomuseum #designimpossible #RoyalOntarioMuseum

Yesterday was the end of a long weekend here, and what better way to spend it than in jaw-dropping admiration of Iris van Herpen’s work at the Royal Ontario Museum?  The exhibit was split over two galleries – one in conjunction with Philip Beesley, a Canadian architect who has collaborated with Iris.  His work is another post altogether.

#irisvanherpen #transformingfashion #royalontariomuseum #designimpossible #RoyalOntarioMuseum

It was fascinating to see her creations up close.  There were even portions of the gallery that held samples which we were actually allowed to touch.

#irisvanherpen #transformingfashion #royalontariomuseum #designimpossible #RoyalOntarioMuseum

This is a piece of the material used in one of her more recent collections.

#irisvanherpen #transformingfashion #royalontariomuseum #designimpossible #RoyalOntarioMuseum
It’s a metallic fabric.  I was expecting something much sharper, stiffer and harsher than it actually was. #irisvanherpen #transformingfashion #royalontariomuseum #designimpossible #RoyalOntarioMuseum

One could wear this fabric quite comfortably, although I’m not sure about sitting in the garment. I’m not sure if the oxidation was done prior to construction, but look at that perfect matching down the invisible zipper at the CB!  Ms. van Herpen worked with Alexander McQueen for a while, and her first collections were done entirely by hand.

#irisvanherpen #transformingfashion #royalontariomuseum #designimpossible #RoyalOntarioMuseum

It was an extraordinary way to spend an afternoon, and if you are in the Toronto area in the next few weeks, I would strongly encourage you to see this exhibit. I think the Refinery Smoke dresses were my favourite.

#irisvanherpen #transformingfashion #royalontariomuseum #designimpossible #RoyalOntarioMuseum

DD3’s favourite was the dress made of leather and small chains with a plastic water ‘splash’ worn around the neck.  She said it embodied everything she felt as a swimmer diving into the water.

#irisvanherpen #transformingfashion #royalontariomuseum #designimpossible #RoyalOntarioMuseum

Here is a close up of the dress.

#irisvanherpen #transformingfashion #royalontariomuseum #designimpossible #RoyalOntarioMuseum

This lovely little black and copper number was my favourite.  I could seriously see myself wearing this one.
#irisvanherpen #transformingfashion #royalontariomuseum #designimpossible #RoyalOntarioMuseum

If I remember correctly, the fabric is a heavy wool with the leather hand-sewn onto the garment. If you click on each picture, you will connect through to my Flickr album where there are several other photos of her garments.  Some of her pieces were incredibly macabre (not my cup of tea), but I could not help but admire her creativity.  There were also several videos of her working on some of the dresses (pieces of wearable art, imho!), and I was struck by her patience – the losing of herself in the creative process.  I must say, I don’t have that ability to get ‘lost’ while sewing… my mind is always going somewhere else or thinking about so many things!  Can you imagine making something like this:
#irisvanherpen #transformingfashion #royalontariomuseum #designimpossible #RoyalOntarioMuseum

Each strip of plastic is sewn on individually.  By hand.  Incredible!

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Why I should learn to draft patterns

I distinctly remember my first introduction to the House of Chanel.  It was through Vogue magazine in the mid 80’s, and I fell for it hopelessly.  I loved everything about it:  the quilting; the camellias; the endless ropes of pearls and gold chains; the distinctive shaping of the jacket.  Sigh.  It was my goal as a 15 year old to own a Chanel suit and all the requisite accessories.  E35_chanel_couture_022_1985When I moved to Toronto two years later, I wandered through the Chanel boutique in the now defunct Creed’s store, and I found a signature suit in ivory tweed in my size on sale.  Imagine my stupefied delight.  And then I picked it up to have a good look at my dream suit.  Completely unlined.  100% polyester.  All for 1/2 price at a paltry $2500.  The RTW bubble was burst.  And what an enormous POP.chanel 2

So, rather disillusioned, I went about my business and decided I’d settle for the statement purse.  Just for the record, I still do not own one.  I cannot bring myself to spend the money on a statement item.  However, I would happily spend any amount of money to own something couture, which I discovered somewhere along the line.  To this day, I am an avid couture dreamer.  One of my favourite films is Signe Chanel, which gives a wonderful glimpse into the world famous atelier for a 2004 couture show (the picture above is from that show) and the incredible talents of the women that work in it.  Lagerfeld may come up with the ideas, but the skill set required to make those ideas a reality is formidable.    Chanel PF 2011 duster

I need that skill set.  Very rarely will Chanel put out a collection that I don’t like – or maybe the proper word is admire – with at least one garment that I would happily put into good use in my closet.  The closest I will come to owning any Chanel garment is a copy.  And this is where it becomes very frustrating.  I’m pretty good at patching together pattern pieces into a collage that will be close to the look that I want, but I cannot draft anything to save my life.  Like this collar!  BTW, Claudine has posted this last picture on her blog along with videos on how to get the ombre look with spray dyeing.

chanel couture spring 2012 collars