RISK Dress

This dress was designed as part of The Cutting Circle project and I’m refining it for an exhibition in Sydney early next year at Object. It is a similar approach to WAR / PEACE  but with the letters forming all the lines needed. When I drew the first sketch I didn’t have much of a plan as to what the garment would look like and designed it almost entirely on the dressform and sewing machine. Usually I like to be more certain of the design before I cut. I was apprehensive but excited to see what might appear at the intersection between my hand, typography and chance. In the Cutting Circle demo I started to sew the garment up again from memory in a beautiful black silk tissue (dead stock) from the wonderful Global Fabrics. I’ve since been refining the pattern – the sleeve on one side was uncomfortable to wear and makes the dress twist around the body. Many of the features ‘discovered’ in the design process I really enjoy – such as the fold across the shoulders (done initially to improve the garment balance) and the interior ‘tunnels’ (to alter the skirt length) and draped pocket. The overall shape works well and the dress is fun to wear.

For me the biggest questions the design process of this dress raises is the play between risk/chance/serendipity and the controlling hand of the designer. The cut lines are controlled by the letters forming the work RISK – an approach which is undeniably risky. And i didn’t know what the garment would look like even once I had cut it out – what I didn’t know was that it would work. So what is my role as a deisgner? The decisions I made at every point; what shape the work took, which of the lines to cut and which to leave, where on the body I placed each piece, the fabric I used, the way I sewed the garment together, all lead to the final design –  something that is both calculated and intuitive. And as such, a different person would come up with a different design from the same pieces.

The phrase “Go back to the drawing board” is something I rarely use. And its not because I don’t draw in the traditional sense of the word It’s because I don’t have a finished drawn design to test through a prototype as such. I design as I prototype – the process is conflated and non-linear. I ‘draw’ the pattern for a half conceived prototype, and resolve the pattern as I make the prototype – constantly receiving feedback from the materials I’m working with. It is a one step ‘design’ process with multiple feedback loops.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

About these ads

4 responses

  1. Amazing piece from the choice of word to the finished piece. I guess ‘adventure’ would be a full length dress! Very inspiring and looking forward to seeing your work at Object Gallery.

    November 10, 2011 at 3:41 am

  2. ethicalista

    It’s amazing to see your growth piece after piece…this dress is beautiful and easy wearable! thanks for share all this with us, it’s so inspiring! Go Holly!!!

    November 10, 2011 at 9:28 am

  3. Yuke Adora

    This is beyond brilliant. Is there any particular books or courses that you recommend to learn more about the pattern making technique?

    August 16, 2013 at 12:12 pm

    • Thanks! Unfortunately there are few books currently available on the subject, though watch this space! I run workshops when invited as does Timo Rissanen at times. I teach at Massey University in Wellington, New Zealand and occasionally run them there also. There is possibly a Cutting Circle workshop running next year in uk which will involve Timo Rissanen, Julian Roberts and myself, so keep an eye out if you are in the area.

      August 16, 2013 at 8:40 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 101 other followers