Luncheon in Newport Beach
The first pre-preview of my Fall 2011 Women's clothing line was held at Fashion Island in Newport Beach last week. It was a small luncheon hosted by Style 2020. I showed about 18 pieces of clothing, and there are more in production right now. As you can see, there are many late 1930s vintage-inspired details, but all my pieces have been tweaked and worked on to make them thoroughly modern and wearable. I primarily design high-end prêt-à-porter or luxury sportswear, which means there are lots of separate options for women who need well-made but fun clothes for work. I'm also big on cocktail dresses and coats, because these are pieces that women need all the time.
This is one of the trays from my fine jewelry line. The strand on the left is a classic creamy white South Sea strand with diamond ball clasp. The strands on the right are akoya pearls with 18k designs inspired from a textile that I created for my clothing line. Some of them have a sprinkling of diamonds, emeralds and sapphires. They're whimsical and a wearable length designed to be practical to wear during the day.
It was such a fun event and I was so happy that Katie from Goodnite Irene was able to attend!
What does couture mean?
There's a lot of confusion about what the word "couture" actually means.
* Couture is the French word for sewing and generally refers to Haute couture or "high sewing"/"high dressmaking. And no, Juicy Couture does not count. Haute couture is usually confused with prêt-à-porter (the French term for ready-to-wear fashion).
* Technically to be considered Haute couture, you must be a member of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture. There are only 10 official Members in the world and they include Chanel, Givenchy and Jean Paul Gaultier. To give you an idea, Ralph Rucci is a former member, and he's the only American to have been accepted in decades.
What is the difference between prêt-à-porter and off-the-rack?
* The fit, fabrication, and quality of the garment are the main difference.
* The pattern is what determines the fit and a good one can make you look 10 pounds thinner! A good patternmaker knows how a garment should hang, understands the importance of designing and cutting on the bias (more expensive because it uses more fabric, but gives a much nicer drape). I feel fortunate to work with an amazing patternmaker. He was the head patternmaker for James Galanos for 30 years and I learn from him every time we make a new garment.
* The fabric: Expensive fabrics like silk and wool contain little man-made content. They breathe much better than cheaper fabric and feel wonderful to the touch.
* The lining: some lines claim to be high-end, but if you examine the inside of the garment, they aren't lined. That's one way to cut down on cost, but it makes the garment much less luxurious. All of my garments are lined with silk charmeuse, making them as luxurious on the inside as the outside--it's one of the first things women gush over when they try on my garments.
* The sewing: most off-the-rack garments use overlock stiching because it's fast and cheaper to produce in a factory setting. A high-end garment is made by highly specialized sewers who use princess seams, meaning you don't see any of the stitching on the interior of the garment. Baby stitching is used to finish of chiffon and there's often plenty of hand-stiching on special details. Even the zippers are sewn differently for a high end garment. A cheap replica will use overlock on every aspect of the garment. Once you get used to wearing garments that feel great and fit you correctly it's hard to go back!