So since today's was the last challenge before the finale, I am reserving a very special treat for the end because this was a challenge that meant a lot to everyone who is a designer and I want to share with everyone a bit about what I have learnt in my studies of fashion and art and in the process of creating a couture piece.
So for inspiration the designers met my future husband, Sir Tim, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I have to admit one thing. Museums drive me batty because I am very impatient, and because I absorb things like a sponge so whenever I go to an exhibit, and unless it's one that completely captures me, it turns into a workout and I jog through it.
There are exceptions. For example when my best friend, my beloved G, took me to the Lallique jewelry exhibit in Dallas or the Art Deco exhibit at the Museum in Toronto. Also when I went to the Victoria and Albert Museum in London to the Versace exhibit, and I got to personally fondle and molest the Elizabeth Hurley safety pin dress and J-Lo's infamous green plunging neckline dress. I swear to God, I went over each seam, each button, each fold and drape and embellishment as if I had just run a marathon and found a fountain of Gatorade. More erotic and exciting and transcendental than ANY physical experience I have ever had, with the exception of saving a life or the Madonna "Confessions on the Dancefloor" concert.
But I am incredibly inspired and influenced by art. Or I would say the arts. I have found inspiration in dance, music , pictorial art, sculpture, theatre, rock videos and movies. That is the thing with me and it has always been. I do not make a distinction between "fine" art and "pop" art. To me all art has equal value. To me art, when good , is as if God had breathed through the artist and what comes out is the expression of that feeling. And that is exactly what it feels like when I am creating something. Like God is breathing through me. Or like Billy Elliot accurately put it: " It feels like electricity". I pray every day to be blessed with one of those moments, because the are the biggest gift a human being can get. Be they " Thriller" or the 1812 Overture or the Monalisa or Citizen Kane or the "Hungry Like the Wolf" Duran Duran video or U2's "Sunday Bloody Sunday". That has always gotten me in hot water but frankly, after a given period of time, the teachers who tear me apart for my pop inspirations, end up ripping me off.
So, without further due let's sharpen our HB's, and mix our palettes and let the strokes speak for themselves...
Sweet P's inspiration was this painting called "Peacocks":
And this is her interpretation
I did not think she took the inspiration far enough and with such an exhuberant theme she could have done a lot more. Contruction and fit wise, it was decent but it was not a particularly difficult dress.One of the ways I judge this is, if I can reverse-engineer the pattern for the dress in my head, the dress is easy. And with this one I can. So the execution and design should have been much stronger. Of the 5 remaining designers, Sweet P, Bless her heart, and I love her to bits as a person, was the weakest. She was auffed. But I don't feel too bad because she showed at Bryant Park anyways.
Christian's inspiration was this painting from Murillo
and this was his interpretation
Which I loved. This boy is a construction genius and he can design and sew and pattern-make like he breathes. He made about 4 pieces total and they all were immaculate. I also love this because it really fits my personnal aesthetic which is a constant play on a bit of androginy, the masculine made feminine. Well-deserved win. Go Polly!
TAG (for those of you just joining us, that means "The Ambiguously Gay", because he acts like those hairdressers that are gay but flirt with the gaydar-deprived female clientele to get better tips) Riff Raff Rami:
It was kind of unfair that they even gave that to Rami as a choice if they were going to critize him for doing what he does best and when you know full well what appeals to him most. His inpiration was sort of like this (I could not find his Greek Aphrodite on the Met's site)
And his interpretation was this
Which is derivative as all hell (Gres, Desses, Vionnet) BUT is was immaculately and exquisitely done, tasteful, wearable and IT WOULD SELL. I would wear this dress to a cocktail party tomorrow. That is another way I judge these people's work. With the minor problem that I am plus-size, I am a couture collector and these folks' target audience. I am one of the ladies that BUYS high-end ready-to-wear. And I pay for the stuff , I don't borrow it and I don't get it given to me like the Hollywhores. I have done without a home and sometimes without food for it. How pathetically Isabella Blow of me, I know...
Magenta's inspiration was this painting:
And this was her interpretation
I frankly did not get the why the judges were so all over this design. The jacket was cute and well done but I have seen this a GAJILLION times in the '80's and it's another lame (I meant the metallic fabric lame but anglophone keybords don't have accents and it came out as lame which is funny, because it kind of was) mini-dress. I am FED UP with short dresses.
This was my favourite of all the artworks they choose
and this was his interpretation
Yet again, this was MY FAVOURITE by a landslide. The problem the judges had was that it was very similar to the dress he made with chick... Christian for the Avant-Garde challenge but to me, not only was it the most dramatic and aesthetically-pleasing, it was the one that was most flattering to a woman's figure along with Rami's. This I would wear to a gala event or a red carpet.
Well, as we all know, they all showed at Fashion Week. I called the finalists in what? November? I know. Right now my money is on Christian for the win.
And now my surprise.... I have been extremely reticent to show MY designs. Why? Because I am terrified of being ripped off. Because I when I sketched my last collection, I had never had any training in sketching (I have only had two classes in the Fashion Design program, Apparel Construction and Tailoring). And I am very self-conscious. But I wanted to share the process, because this is such a personal collection and it is so connected to me. This collection was based on clothes from the 1940's and my country, Mexico. It was based on the typical costumes, landmarks, natural beauty and crafts of Mexico's 32 states. One of my sources of inspiration was Luis Covarrubias' artwork and book on Mexican Native Costumes. Luis Covarrubias was a very famous Mexican artist and the brother of another famous Mexican artist, Miguel Covarrubias. He was also married to one of my mother's best friends, an archeologist with a very pretty name and he was the daddy of my first crush ever, Miguelito Covarrubias, one of the first guys I kissed. He was the guy who first got me into Punk.
This is the photo from the Covarrubias book:
And this is my interpretation
The headress of the Tehuana costume was re-interpreted as a reversible assymetrical pleated taffeta skirt, and the top made modern with a crisp cotton shirt with an exaggerated collar. The embroidery on the dress was reflected on a beaded sash. It was also clearly influenced by the clean lines and silhouettes from the 40's and the movie stars of the time like Joan Crawford and Katherine Hepburn.
So, now you have seen MY art work, pure and as it pours from me.
Now I am going to leave you with some of my favourite works of art...