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The Fashion Design Reference & Specification Book by Laura Volpintesta, Jay Calderin

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Job:12-29742 Title:RP-Fashion Design Ref and Spec Book
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5 8 THE FASHION DESIGN REFERENCE + SPECIFICATION BOOK
(Text)
Where do you start with the design process when developing a new collection? And
why that first?
Two things begin the process. One, I start where I left off with a concept from the
previous collection, as the first step in a new evolution, or from a curiosity that I
haven’t explored the idea enough. And, simultaneously, I go back to certain images
because they stimulate me in some wayright now, I’m working on concepts and
images as varied as Shogun armor to eighteenth-century French chinoiserie reinter-
preted, to modern canvases by Adolph Gottlieb. Then there are some solemn im-
ages that I always look at.
As I begin my research, I’m thinking constantly, and at the same time choosing fab-
rics and trying to come up with a base color for the collection that is not colorful. I
don’t feel comfortable working in color so I have to find a color that’s a non-color. Or
I’ll attack a color like a bright pink or a chartreuse and try to calm it down among all
the gray and taupe and black. After the fabrics are ordered, I literally encase myself
in a room with images on boards and rough sketches and I begin.
The first step of having a toile made is very difficult for me because its as if its a
symbolic piece and I have to choose it wisely. Once I see the toile, then I start run-
ning with the ideas, sketching, draping, working with the fabric. Often, I will make
a painting, have a digital image taken of it, and transfer the screened image onto
cloth. I’ll paint another canvas and then put the cloth, the chiffon or something, the
transparency, on top of that painting. We’ve done this now every season for a couple
of years. Last season I just used an illustration of a planet, which we magnified, but
this season the paintings have provided the springboard into the new work, which is
very vaporous, mysterious smokelike images.
Do you consider fashion an art form? And why?
Those two words are interrelated. Fashion is not art: It’s the couturier who brings
the art to the fashion, and it’s done through the matching of techniques and the
vocabulary coming out of the atelier. So when they say fashion is not art, it’s rightly
said, but it’s the couturier who is the artist. And if you look at the work of Vionnet
or Grès or Balenciaga or Courrèges, you undoubtedly cannot say that this is not art.
Then there’s a whole list of names you can mention that clearly suggests that fash-
ion is not art.
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PERSPECTIVES: RALPH RUCCI
Job:12-29742 Title:RP-Fashion Design Ref and Spec Book
#175 Dtp:204 Page:58
052-063_30034.indd 58 3/5/13 6:22 PM

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