Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Say What!

Since I was a little girl sewing has been a little hobby of mine. My grandmother used to be a dressmaker and seamstress for over 20 years back in the 1950s and 1960s.  I became naturally curious about sewing when I used to hide in her fabric room. This room was the size of a big walk-in closet, full of fabrics from the 1950s to 90s that she kept over the years. After that, whenever I would visit, I'd spend hours having her teach me about sewing. Eventually she would catch me in there cutting out pieces in her collection to make dresses for my Barbie dolls. I used to spend hours hand sewing Barbie dress creations, and button necklaces for family members while watching classic movies like Babes in Arms and The Wizard of Oz.

Now where does all this back story lead? It's a massive stretch, but it leads me to the exceptionally talented couture genius Valentino. How? Well, after watching the 2008 fashion documentary Valentino: The Last Emperor a few months ago, one thing has stuck with me. What? The mind-blowing fact that all his seamstresses sew everything...BY HAND. I had to rewatch that scene a few times for it to sink in. I mean just look at one of the exquisite dresses from his Spring 2011 collection.
 This was sewn by hand. My mind is blown.

Now every time I sew an item of clothing, I'm going to remember this and think of how much longer it would take me to do it by hand. 
My favourite of the Spring 2011 collection.
And even if I would have the patience to do it. To sew a fun little frock for Barbie is one thing, but to spend the time and effort hanging over a bust form hand sewing a piece is just awe-inspiring to me. I also wonder how often this occurs in the fashion world? Are there many more houses of design that do without machines and go back to basics? 

Just for fun, here are a few more hand sewn beautiful Valentino designs. 
Spring 2008
Spring 2008

Fall 2010
Spring 2010
If you haven't checked out the documentary, I'd highly recommend it. That, and of course, The September Issue.

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