Simplifying

I’ve also started looking through the Fall 2013 haute couture shows on Style.com. I had been looking for ways to add details to the skirt, but after seeing the couture garments, I think it might be undesirable. What I noticed on the garments is that they mostly contain a single “idea”. Consider these two dresses (photos courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, for noncommercial use in accordance with their Terms & Conditions):

evening dress, by Versace

evening dress, by Versace

"May", by House of Dior

“May”, by House of Dior

Both of these dresses are visually successful, because they are “about” only one thing. The central idea for the first dress is the colors and cut of the bodice; the skirt is kept deliberately simple, to keep the focus on the bodice.

The central idea for the second dress is the leaf-and-flower embroidery, and the “cut” of the dress is kept simple to allow the eye to focus on the exquisite stitching.

So let’s look at some of my muslins again:

front of new muslin for Phoenix Rising

front of new muslin for Phoenix Rising

Here there are at least three or four ideas – the phoenixes, the painted-warp “flames”, the ruffles, and the gradations in color. It’s too complicated. The eye doesn’t know where to go.

And here is the latest rendition:

front of muslin

front of muslin

In this case, there are three ideas – the phoenixes, the color gradation, and the painted warp. I think this is still a manageable design because the central idea (in my mind) is phoenixes disappearing and reappearing in an inferno, but it still feels overly complicated compared to the two couture garments above. If I complicate the skirt, that will simply add to the confusion. So I’m leaning towards a simple, iridescent plain weave skirt at the moment. I may also eliminate the left shoulder “flame” (the smaller flame on the right side of the photo); to my mind, it distracts from the clean diagonal sweep of the phoenixes flying up into the inferno and out again on the other side. I may also eliminate the flame shapes cut into the bodice, for the same reason – though maybe not, as I really like those flames.

But for now, the intent is to simplify.

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3 Comments

  1. S. Stanley
    Posted July 5, 2013 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    Your cloth and your ideas are stunning. I think you’re on the right track (simplifying). What you have here are fantastic ideas for two dresses.
    Stephanie S

  2. Posted July 5, 2013 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    I agree – your fabrics ARE the detail – the dress itself can be simple.

  3. terri
    Posted July 5, 2013 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    Or maybe enough ideas for a whole line /series of dresses? :)

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