Behind the Design: That Maurizio Galante Jacket

There was one more couture look I just HAD to do. But I needed time to figure it out how to make a dolly version.

There were two shows--Maurizio Galante and Iris van Herpen-- presented during the Paris Haute Couture that me and the girls loved, but could not include in our last report for good reason. Both of these designers create what we could classify This is when the principles, the exploration and experimentation employed in the world of fine art is translated into high fashion. Some things are wearable, others not. But for me, artists like these are necessary for the evolution of style and design.

Originally trained as an architect, Maurizio Galante is an Italian fashion designer who launched his label in 1986 before joining Paris Haute Couture scene in1991. The transversal approach to his craft sees him combining fashion, architecture, art and interior design. He sees his work as what he calls "objects of desire" or "conversation pieces" destined to evoke emotions.

Galante's work caught my eye many years ago with his unusual use of form, elements and movement, all elegantly executed. He's been around longer than Ms. van Herpen so there is more of an old school approach to his work. For the Fall/Winter Haute Couture '17 collection, Galante opted for a static show so that viewers could appreciate the details of each piece.

Fashion Doll Stylist

I was so intrigued by the white jacket. I love the rows and rows of tiny squares, the texture and movement they create as they fall over the body and down the arms. The jacket itself is quite simple. It's the squares that pose the problem. I made little samples using materials at hand but, as usual, the challenge is always the tiny proportions of the doll. You don't have the luxury of hemming anything, so the material must not fray when cut. I tried jersey but the edges curled. It's ok for another look, just not the one I was going for. Actually, it's okay if the fabric edges fray, if that's what you want (there are no rules), it's just not what I was going for. So at the end of the day I decided to use....industrial strength paper toweling for my squares.

This project starts by measuring and cutting my paper towel in strips of 1/2" (13mm).  I gathered about 4 strips at a time, then cut them into 1/2" (13mm) cubes. I used (kitchen) string (threaded through a wide-eye quilting needle) to string the tiny squares.
You can use a basic jacket or kimono. But hold off lining it. Then, make several strings of squares.
1. Drape a row of squares along the front edge and around the neck of the jacket and pin in place. 2. Using regular needle and thread, begin by taking down the first square to the jacket, but for the rest of the string, tack around the string.
3. As I work, I separate the squares and loop the stitch around the string.
4. For my next row, I place it next to the first row but then pin at the shoulder and down the back, close to the side seam. There will be a space under the arm. Leave that empty. Continue to add the rows until the back is covered. When you are working with the rows of squares, always tack the first and last squares to the jacket to keep them from unraveling. But you want to tack the string down for the rest so that you can adjust the squares afterwards.
5. I cut slightly smaller squares for the sleeves. I cut the toweling into 3/8" (10mm) strips and then 3/8" (10mm) cubes for stringing. Use a dowel, fat pencil or pen  to slip into the sleeve of the jacket while you tack on the row of squares.
6. You can make a spiral around the sleeve with the row of squares (as shown in the diagram). Here you see my completed jacket. Again, notice I've left a space under the arms. This is to keep the jacket from becoming too bulky on the doll. It won't look strange because we will be closing this jacket with a belt.
 7. Once you have finished adding on all the squares, now is the time to hand sew in your lining.
The belt is simple. I took another length of string, knotted it at the end and began adding on 3/8" (10mm) squares. Once I have enough to make me happy, I adjust them so that they are evenly placed on two ends. Then I knot the opposite end.
My jacket is not exactly like the one created by Maurizio Galante. My squares don't bend. Nonetheless, I've captured the spirit of the original jacket. What's amazing is that the exterior of my jacket is completely made of paper!
Okay, so I know this type of expression is not everyone's cup of tea. You can use this idea of squares to make a lovely trim for a garment. This time I, I cut up a dryer sheet into 1/2" squares then added to the top of Ingrid's slip dress.
It's a nice alternative to feathers and fur and adds a very pretty soft touch to a summer gown.

Future Couture
Dutch designer Iris van Herpen is purely a 21st century couturier who employs 3D design and technology in her works of fashion art. Nothing I can do can come remotely close to her work, so instead, I invite you to view a the behind the scenes clip at how this amazing designer works:

All text and photos (except for the Iris van Herpen video) property of Fashion Doll Stylist. 2017 (and should be credited as such). Please don't reproduce without prior permission. Thank you.

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