September 6, 2011

52 easy pieces

Gray Silk/Linen ruched dress lined in silk charmeuse with hand-ruched gray silk chiffon bodice; Wool coat lined in charmeuse silk leopard print; both from my Fall line. Model: Katie Osumi shot at The Surf and Sand Resort

Today lovely Ada at Classiq posted a very kind interview with me about my Fall clothing line. She asked a lot of difficult questions and made me realize that I rarely discuss the process of making my line. So much goes in to it that at the end of the day, it's easier to just write about other things that inspire me and leave the cares of manufacturing behind.

A few months back I was chatting with a woman who told me that I was inspiring her to start her own line because the pieces in my new line were so simple. I choked on my latte and almost fell off the bistro chair. Before I could explain that none of the pieces in my line were simple, some of them had to be re-done several times by amazing patternmakers to get the drape and the fit just right, everything was completely lined in silk, a lot of pieces have hand work--she repeated in a bright and firm voice, "Oh come on, there's not much to them, they're easy patterns!" with a wave of her hand. And well, there was just no point in explaining that the most expensively made garments often look deceptively simple.


What I do know for sure is that there are 52 pattern pieces in the portrait collar jacket above, and the couture sewer who worked on this piece complained a lot during the process. The patternmaker made sure to let me know that when she was making patterns for Yves Saint Laurent, she kept a little notebook where she would log in the hours. She brought it out to show me, "See, 76 hours on this jacket... 120 hours for this dress. There would sometimes be 10 or 12 fittings with a client to get it right, but now ladies don't like to wait." In other words, I had no right to complain that we didn't get it exactly right on the first pass.

The fit was off and because of scheduling, the jacket had to be re-cut/tweaked by another patternmaker I started working with who had worked as the head patternmaker for James Galanos for 30 years. The sewer balked at re-sewing it since she claimed to have spent too many hours making the bound button holes and the silk taffeta collar and the pocket tie details, which were all hand sewn. I could go on, but let's just say that this piece, the core of the line, did not come easy.

If you'd like to read more about my line, check out Ada's interview here.


All Glam Things said...

I just saw Your Interview on classiq Blog! And let me tell you You are an Amazing Designer and Beautiful woman!
I love color palette, textures and lines~ very feminine and chic!
I wish you success!


Jacquii Lie said...

You look absolutely stunning! Great outfit post. I've just discovered your blog and love it! Want to follow each other? I always follow back :)


Couture Carrie said...

Absolutely gorgeous pieces, darling MJ!
Love that coat!


Audrey Allure said...

I love everything from that first look!

fashion and frank said...

I so remember bound button holes from my days at college and horse hair shoulder pads so i know the work that can go into pieces that are deceptively simple - i also know women like that - bleeuch!! x

Punctuation Mark said...

i love it when you say you're a designer and people always say how cool it is but no one know how much work and how many hours go into getting a piece done... you're designs are beautiful for sure!

Little Rus said...

OMG, I'm blusing like there's no tomorrow. I actually never realised that you and "the designer lady" are the same person!!! I'm such a silly silly silly idiot.
You know I've been in love with the light pink coat and pearly grey suit since I first saw them on Sarah Klassen's blog! You are soooooooooo amazing and I'm (yet again) such an idiot.


classiq said...

Thank you for the interview, Mary Jo. It is a pleasure featuring your beautiful fall line. Oh, and you are so right, the most expensively made garments often look so simple. This simplicity is the most luxurious one. xo
ps: I knew the model in your campaign wasn't you, lol, but I haven't had time until now to leave a comment on my blog to clarify this little misunderstanding for my readers :)

Style Journey said...

You look lovely and so lady like! Great photos!

navy and orange said...

love the gray dress with the blush coat!

xoxo navy & orange

Alexis Grace said...

I am glad I wasn't there... I may have slapped the woman.

I see the craftsmanship in your clothing and your impeccable eye for detail.

Can't wait to read the interview!

About Last Weekend said...

This is fascinating, read every word. I love reading about the whole process of design and just looking at the beauty of the folds in the grey dress at the top I can see the incredible amount of hours that go into it on all levels. I'm not a designer and don't have a paying job, but the other day a friend was incredulous that I had to spend any time at all on my blog. "Oh It reads like you just write it in five mins" she said. I take it as a compliment (even though it probably wasn't) and encourage everyone I know to start a blog. People have no idea!

Bonnie said...

You are way too gorgeous. I love your clothes. I love your jewelry. I love your hair. I love your personality. You are such an awesome person!
Twitter: @GlamKitten88 said...

Dear Mary Jo,

In the 80's all girls living in the Mid-West learned to sew in High School.. I was one of them.. I can tell you that to sew well takes so much talent and energy and of course a feeling towards the finished product.. This women has never had to even make a pattern, forget, buying a pattern from the store and making a garment..
What you and other do when you design takes so much focus, when you want to do something really well. To have a dress that looks as well on the inside as the outside is a great deal of labor and love..


Maria-Thérèse ~ said...

Awesome! I enjoy reading more about the technical aspects to creative work! Lovely colours on the designs in this post - especially the grey / pink combo.

Mani said...

Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful! The first pic is amazing!

hugs and kisses by Mani.

Bad Joan said...

This is a great blog. The details in your pieces shine and the simple aspects are classic and beautiful. Exactly how a woman wants to feel in clothes! Love the insight into the creation process. Those bows are perfect on that blazer.


Kel said...

I love these pieces - they're so elegant and sophisticated they get the double thumbs up!

Lots of love from Sydney,

x Kel

melbourne: the bold and the blackman


absolutely amazing pieces MJ! Loving the first pic..xo

Sarah Klassen said...

Hello Mary Jo,

Well first off, let me say again just how much I long to purchase one of the pieces from your line. You are very talented and these classic, beautiful pieces would be treasured in my hands—so many perfect for a woman of twenty and sixty. (which is so rare)

Indeed, the construction of quality pieces takes talent, knowledge, time, dedication and persistence. From beginning to end. I have seen it first hand, whether it is a modern, well-planned kitchen, designing the pages of a book, creating a coat.

Some might see a Birkin bag and one from Aldo and believe them to be equal. That is not so, and no doubt not your customer either :)

Now off to read Classiq!
Wishing you a wonderful day...

xoxo, Sarah


Mary Jo I absolutely loved your interview at Adas! Your line is just gorgeous. I would wear any of your pieces in a heartbeat. That black gown is to die for. Oh and next time I'm in Laguna Beach I know where I'm staying. That location is stunning! :) xoxo

Jess said...

Well I think that jacket is gorgeous! And it's probably a complement that you can make hard work look simple :)

xo jess

Simple Dwellings said...

I guess some people say things w/o thinking or just have no clue! I wouldn't even give that woman's comment a second thought! I think your work is fabulous. It may look effortless because of how beautiful it looks, but I know it is the exact opposite!

Bravoe Runway said...

The first gray dress is absolutely stunning and the suit is gorgeous as well! Silk lined pieces are hard to come by, it's generally Chanel or St.John that constructs their pieces in that manner! I will definitely check out your line, my mom is a designer also so I have an idea of how long it takes to design and craft a portrait collar jacket. Thank you for stopping by, I am so glad to discover a talented designer like you!

Katie said...

Girlfriend, you are stunning and these pieces are so beyond fantastic! xo

Leslie Christen | LifeStyling said...

Beautiful shots, this is my first time to your site and I'll definitely be back

xo Leslie

Michelle Lee said...

so beautiful :)

by the way I miss Pete's Coffee so much
I lived in Silicon Valley and always went to Pete's Coffee because it was only about two blocks away
now I'm in Korea so I can't get the beans as I would so love to get
maybe I should try some online shopping to see if it's available anywhere!

the nyanzi report said...

you're absolutely stunning!

Antonia said...

That grey silk dress is gorg!! You look lovely!! :)



MM said...

The most expensively made designs often look so simple but God knows how difficult and time consuming is to create a very simple design.

You are very talented and your work is amazing!! I love all designs!!

The grey suit is perfect!!


Cafe Fashionista said...

I just love that wool coat, Mary Jo - the color is gorg!

Off to check out the interview now! :)

Bourbon&Pearls said...

Don't you just love people like that? they are the same ones who look at Art and say, oh anyone can do that.
Your line is so so beautiful , I love the liquid silver silk dress and the one in the first pic. And...that you have paired the fall line with tights - perfect! Now I just have to find that grey shade, they are lovely.

Elle Sees said...

I would have choked too! I'd it was easy, everyone would do it.

dimitri said...

The first pics is so great. It's really a beautiful shot.
Amazing pieces.

Vantage Point Vintage said...

Great looks! Gorgeous!


Whimsy Being said...

congrats on the interview feature! i remember touching and feeling your pieces and the quality made it clear these pieces are everything but simple.

Sabrina said...

These are such beautiful pieces. I especially like the bow detailing in the second outfit!


Boye By Red said...

Things that look effortless and "simple" are usually the hardest to make.
Your work is so beautiful, it is obvious that you have put a lot of talent, skill and time into them. Those people who think that's easy - let them try it and see how far they go :-)

Beautiful blog, by the way.


Brandi {not your average ordinary} said...

Mary Jo, I so admire what you do. You make a 52-piece pattern look so simple. And I love that all the clothing you design is so classic. Women will be able to wear your outfits for years.

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