LOOKING FOR BOOKS OR INFORMATION ON C…
I AM EXTENDING MY SKILLS IN THE COUTURE AREA, AND WOULD LIKE TO HEAR FROM ANYONE WHO CAN HELP. FAVOURED TECHNIQUES ARE THOSE OF CHARLES JAMES (1930’s – 50’s structured gowns) AND MADELEINE VIONNET (1930’s-style bias cutting). RESEARCH MATERIAL HERE IN NEW ZEALAND IS SOMEWHAT LIMITED, I’M AFRAID, SO ANY LITTLE POINTERS WOULD BE GRATEFULLY ACCEPTED! THANKS, V.
Virginia, you are a rara avis if you have heard of CJ. I just happened to find a book on him in a local bookstore. It is "The Genius of Charles James" ; Elizabeth Ann Coleman ; The Brooklyn Museum ; Holt, Rinehart and Winston ; 1982 ; ISBN 0-03-062588-2. It has a lot of pictures and his sketches and a bibliography of his dresses. The Brooklyn Museum has a vast collection on him, so try contacting them - TBM NYC,NY,USA. Also try the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC. I have their show catalogue book "Haute Couture" and "Dior". They are a tad pricey in hardback - about US $50.00 each. Also a Lacis book worth every penny is "Couture Embroidery : The Art of Lasage." As for books strictly on the technique of couture, try the Fashion Institute in NYC. I got a catalogue from them several years ago for the texts they use in the school. The 2 current books out that you see adv'tsd on couture are just so-so in my opinion in that they show only the very most basic of techniques and the photos are of contemporary sewing and not of the couture items as illustrations. Go to the article index here in Threads and look through. they did a series on designers that was quite good in that it showed the garment and the technique, although not in as much depth as one would desire. There is a new book out on Vionnet, but I don't know the title. Try Amazon or Books-a-million. I've seen it advertised - $100.00 US. Hope this gets you started. Bill
*Dear Bill, Thank you for the reply! I've read 'The Genius of Charles James' several times, courtesy of the local library, but it is no longer in print so I don't have a copy of my own. You were very lucky to find it. There is mention in it of lectures that James gave, and I'd be interested in hearing from anyone who attended them or worked with the man himself. The book 'Madeleine Vionnet' by Betty(?) Kirke is brilliant. It has pattern diagrams of many of Vionnet's designs, although not to scale, so to reproduce them you have to devise your own point of reference. That makes you think! My experiences have been successful and most educational. This afternoon I'm going to pick up a new book. I'm so excited! It's called 'The Art of Manipulating Fabric' (Collette Woolf), and while it was written mainly for fabric sculptors the techniques and principles can be inventively applied to ladies formalwear.I tried searching the places you suggested for CJ information, but have had no luck so far. Please keep in touch, and tell me about yourself - I'm interested in the contact. V.
*Virginia, yes it was luck to find the book. Pure chance that day. Look in the ads in the back of Threads for a search service book store. Let me know if you don't have Threads and I'll look up several for you. they are mainly for out-of-print books, which is good. I'm trying to find one on Zondra Rhodes - the kooky English designer.Have you seen the couture collection at the V&A in London? it is fabulous. try contacting them for info. As for me - male, 53, married. Mainly do custom work and alterations. my father was a tailor and I apprenticed in the shop where he worked for 10 1/2 years, then studied and worked for a true couturier in Los Angeles. Rest I've learned the hard way and by sucking the marrow out of the books I can find. Been sewing over 40 years and still love it. Sewed for Virginia Kelly, our President's deceased mother and loved it.
*Hi Virginia,there is a teacher here in Montreal (Canada) called Angelina di Bello who has published several books about Haute Couture techniques. The one I have is only about skirts and although it doesn't cover period or particular designers (with the exception of the Dior pleat) it certainly goes into details.She has books on jackets, pants and probably a lot more. You'll find her ad on page 81 of the current Threads.Janet Arnold has also published several books called 'Patterns of Fashion'. Like Kirke's book, there are diagrams but line drawings and no photographs. The construction methods are also briefly described. #2 covers 1860-1940 and is published by Macmillan/Drama books.
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