My uni year is over and my marks are starting to come in. So far I have received a 92.5% High Distinction for Design. So I’m pretty pleased with that! My final collection for my design subject is titled La Garconne; Which is French for ‘boyish’, ‘Flapper’ or a woman who dresses and behaves like a man.
Our initially starting point as specified in the design brief was the 1920’s. I initially struggled to find inspiration within the 1920’s as the overall style of women’s fashion within the era doesn’t really appeal to me. I instead looked to other elements of the decade. The social climate was particularly interesting, as feminism gained momentum and women begun to dress and behave differently. This lead to the “Flappers” who drunk, smoked, danced, wore short skirts and were sexually and socially liberated. This was in stark contrast to the conservative women governed by social conventions of earlier times. Women’s pants were accepted for the first time and a new androgynous look was invented, made popular by the likes of Dorothy Mackaill, Jean Arthur and Katharine Hepburn
I incorporated these ideas into my designs in a number of ways. First, I explored men’s tailoring. I researched both men’s fashion from the 1920’s as well as traditional tailoring techniques and how they can be applied to modern fashion. I wanted my designs to reflect female empowerment so I combined feminine and masculine elements to imply that a woman can dress powerfully without dressing as a man. I did this by taking the structure of men’s tailoring to illustrate strength and the fitted shape of women’s clothing to emphasis the female form. I explored ways of showing skin through cut outs and exaggerated low cuts to reflect the raised hem line and liberation of women’s bodies and sexuality in the 1920’s. Other elements of the 1920’s I drew upon were Art Deco shapes and architecture as I felt the geometric shapes and strong, structured nature tied in well with my main inspirations. I also incorporated some military styles as the 1920’s followed a time of great conflict during WWI. Military uniforms portray strength and courage and the style ties in well with the rest of the collection.
The style of my final collection is sophisticated and elegant and I feel it reflects my inspirations and concept. I have incorporated aspects of menswear into an androgynous style that flatters the female form. The designs are sleek and structured and are simple yet interesting. These designs would be sold at a high price point in either the ready to wear section of a department store like David Jones or a smaller boutique fashion store. They may be purchased by women aged approximately 22-45 with high disposable income. These women may work in a professional setting and are likely to be clean, polished and well organized They would appreciate high quality garments, value comfort and want to look sophisticated, confident and powerful. They may enjoy being a little bit different and subtly unique without being over the top or overtly vibrant.
I utilised a variety of design elements and principles. Perhaps one of the most prominent is emphasis. The simplicity and sleekness of my designs places the focus on the key design features. For example I have used plain white shirting fabrics and concealed closures in many designs to place emphasis on the cut outs or other design features. Contrast was also very important. I largely selected white shirting fabrics and dark grey and black fabrics for the pants to create a dynamic visual impact and a clearly distinction between the 2 garments. This flatters the figure and draws attention to the waist and top half of the body. I considered proportion carefully in the context of how the garments fit together and how they sit on the body and how the smaller design features interact with each other. Most of the pants sit just below the natural waist, this elongates both the legs and the torso and is both a comfortable and flattering place for a waistband. Shirt cuffs and collar stand vary in depth based on the design. On simpler and more structured designs I enlarged them and often added a contrasting colour to turn them into a feature while on more intricate designs I kept them smaller and subtler.
I selected a high contrast achromatic colour scheme as I felt it best reflected my inspirations. Menswear is often seen in achromatic colour schemes as is professional attire for all genders. White, black and grey are commonly associated with self-assurance, power and professionalism, all things desired by women in the 1920’s. The fabrics I chose are well suited to Melbourne winter due to their tight weaves and/or wool fiber content. They are stable enough to fulfill the structure of the designs and produce a crisp finish. I chose fabrics with smooth textures to avoid over cluttering the designs or distracting from the main design features.