Trisha Brown Dance Company at BAM Next Wave Festival
I was honored to be asked to design costumes for the October run at BAM. The dance was joyful and active accompanied with live music by Peter Zummo and orchestra.
Because there was a tight deadline i suggested that the 2 artistic directors Carolyn Lucas and Diane Madden (both former Trisha Brown dancers) visit my studio to look at possible fabrics and designs. Diane was leaving for a month long trip the next day so it was suggested we meet that same afternoon after rehearsal. Over a glass of rosé wine I began arranging dress forms and pulling out fabrics to drape over them.
First look at possible fabric combinations
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Working with fabric colors and textures while Making the costumes felt like Painting to me
details of the finished costumes
Magpie Jewelry made from scavenged bits of this and that
It was such a busy summer I haven’t really had time to post, so I am just now transitioning into Fall and wrapping up some projects from the months before.
June was wedding month and I made the wedding dress for my beloved niece (and model!)
The wedding was in Cooperstown New York with a beautiful lake as backdrop on a gorgeous late Spring afternoon. Of course everyone danced and celebrated well into the night.
We worked on the dress for a whole year which was a fabulous luxury.
Trunk show in May
My trunk show, given by 2 of my dear clients and friends was a big success and a lot of fun.
New Dance Costumes!!
I was invited to design new costumes for an older Trisha Brown work called “Working Title”. With very little time I used as my starting point fabrics I had already in the studio. After receiving a green light from the 2 artistic directors of the company I felt free to compose the costumes by instinct using as reference everything I learned from working with Trisha and her style of movement and playful spirit.
An Antique Dress
I was asked to work on a dress and revive it as much as possible for inclusion in the beautiful upcoming catalog of Cora Ginsburg
The dress I was asked to restore was a “Fancy dress” most likely worn for a Ball at a private house in England in the 1820’s
My beloved Father passed away just 10 days after we celebrated his 97 birthday in August. He was able to attend the wedding of his granddaughter and reunite with his 93 year old brother who he hadn’t seen in 20 years. He was my biggest inspiration and fan. A man of boundless heart and imagination. His brother, my uncle passed away just 2 weeks later. we Miss them.
I have a few dresses and other items left over from a very busy summer. If you have had your eye on something, now is the time! Please contact me with any questions you may have. These are all one-of-a kind hand-made items.
2 of my dear clients are holding a trunk show for me at a private home. I will have new samples that can be ordered in various sizes and also one-of-a kind pieces for sale. Please contact me for details if you are interested in attending. The hours are 4-7 pm or by appt at my studio beginning on May 24.
Other Laces for skirt
I hope you can come!
Winter doesn't want to leave, but Spring won't be deterred. . .the first buds are sprouting and the birds and small animals are celebrating the advent of warmer weather to come. i always love color and it is never lacking in my studio.
For my sister's 60 birthday her husband arranged a surprise dance party and I made her a surprise dress
Happy Spring Everyone!
I am treating some of my simple shift dresses as a canvas on which to appliquè other fabrics in the form of pockets or bands, some with function and some purely for fun.
Since the solstice and a very busy November and December I have been ensconced in my atelier meditating and working on new designs. It is always so informative to interact with the array of women who come to my sales and see their reactions to the samples and what they end up going home with. Their needs and desires ultimately influence what I come up with in the coming months. I am happily surprised to see that many of my patterns work on different sizes and shapes of bodies. This is an ever-evolving pursuit- to come up with figure flattering and flexible shapes. I have replenished my stock of Wax-print fabrics and I find it very cheering to have a bit of color around me and to think ahead to warmer weather.
This "Raj" jacket is convertible into different configurations- a simple fitted style or the pull back beribboned version shown here.
a blue version of my "poppy" dress in wax-print cotton is an example of a figure-loving dress
This was a magical December night of the super moon (which I didn't manage to capture) but it seems to be reflected in this taffeta moirè fabric which I made into a Qipau. . .
New and old dresses will be on sale at my studio on Tues. Dec. 5 from 5-8 pm and until Dec. 22 by appt.
pleas contact me through the contact page in the menu
Sale extended thru Dec. 22 by appt.
make appt by contacting me on the contact page
The wonderful Linda Dyett originally wrote this article for the online magazine NY City Women from which I have excerpted here.
New York City’s couture-dressmakers, tailors and custom-fitters are on the rebound. Here’s a guide to 10 who make the cut.
by Linda Dyett
We consumers—especially midlife and older Americans—are paring down our wardrobes and shopping less and less these days—but we’re also spending more for higher-quality wearables that express our individuality and suit us to a T. And after a decade of online point-and-click purchases, a lot of us are also eager to return to hands-on service in brick-and-mortar surroundings.
Enter custom-made—the artisanal antidote to fast fashion. Long the province of moneyed elites, celebrities, and mothers of the bride, custom dressmaking and tailoring are today also attracting regular women, who aren’t necessarily in the market for a dress to wear to a black-tie event. These new customers are ladies with style intuition, who know the cuts, fabrics, and colors they want when they see them. And with dozens of hours of pattern-making, cutting, sewing (sometimes by hand), and intricate multiple fittings, custom-made confers an optimal fit that disguises a bulging waist, out-of-shape hips, thighs, and arms, droopy breasts, posture slump, spinal curve, and other figure flaws.
Of course couture dressmakers and tailors come at a price. While I’ve located one who’ll work up one of her off-the-rack $100 to $400 dresses in a different size for no extra fee, most charge $240 and up for custom-made blouses and shirts; $500 and up for made-to-measure (a widely used industry term referring to garments derived from a standard pattern); and $1,500 and up for made-to-order dresses and suits. These are hardly bargains, but they compare so favorably with higher-end, A-list designer ready-to-wear that plenty of women, once they’ve tried New York couture, won’t switch back.
Here’s a rundown of some of the city’s most celebrated as well as off-the-beaten-track dressmakers and tailors who excel in couture and made-to-measure. Just keep in mind: what they offer isn’t seasonal fashion; it’s all about personal, individual style that you can hand down to your daughter or granddaughter, who’ll cherish it as much as you do. Appointments are essential almost everywhere, and finished garments take at least a month—sometimes several—to produce.
Ensconced in a ground floor London Terrace studio, Elizabeth Cannon is that impossible-to-find accessible couturière whom stylish, independent-minded New York women dream about. Having honed her trade making costumes for the Paris Opera Ballet, her inspirations ranging from the Commedia dell’arte to Cocteau, she’s been designing made-to-order one-offs with a lyrical urban edge since 1980. Her clients? “Very decisive” artists, musicians, gallery owners, and entertainment executives, as well as members of the Trisha Brown Dance Company. “Nothing has ever fit me so perfectly,” says one delighted customer. “It’s as if Elizabeth were channeling Schiaparelli,” says another.
Cannon does couture by the book, using custom-padded dressmaker forms, muslins (initial mock-ups in an inexpensive fabric), and sometimes interior boned corsets. She also offers a signature collection of off-the-rack casual day- and eveningwear ($500 and up, though prices can plummet to $100 at frequent sales) that can be altered to fit. Outstanding items: A New Look-style silk shantung dress and jacket for a mother of the bride ($3,500); a silk-cotton blouse and heavy silk floral-print skirt with reinforced corseted yoke for a mother of the groom ($2,800); an African wax-print summer dress ($750); a belted, striped men’s shirting chemise, ($575, readymade; $750, made-to-order) that riffs on the frock Francoise Gilot wore in an iconic 1948 photo strolling along a French beach with an umbrella-wielding Pablo Picasso. Elizabeth Cannon Couture, 460 West 24th St., 212.929.8552.
the full article appears here
Although it may still feel like summer, Fall is here and I am looking back and thinking forward.
Summer was an intense work period of costume reconstruction for the Trisha Brown Company.
I was privileged to work with the artist Terry Winters in recreating his costumes for Groove and Countermove (debut Sept. 2000) for which he also created the sets.
I found some luxurious bamboo knit in luscious colors for the leotards and then went to Dynemix to have them dye the cotton/lycra twill for the pants to match the tops. They did an amazing job and were delightful to work with on the short deadline that I gave them.
The piece was performed in August at Jacob's Pillow along with another piece for which I did the reconstruction of my original designs "L'Amour Au Theatre"
These pieces will also be performed at the Joyce theatre in NYC in Dec. 2017. To see the calendar of upcoming events and performances click here
This past March marked the passing of our beloved Trisha Brown who I have been so honored to work with over the past 15 years and through whom I have met and worked with so many amazing dancers and collaborators. Through Trisha I was able to create costumes at the Paris Opera, both the old Garnier and the newer Bastille , and worked in a castle in Germany and the famed Aix-en-Provence Opera as well as creating costumes for Trisha herself in her duets with Steve Paxton and Elizabeth Streb.
This summer a beautiful memorial was held for Trisha at the Whitney Museum.
New costumes for "Geometry of Quiet" originally designed by Christophe deMenil
Also this summer I created another Batmitzvah Dress, a niche I am happy to say I have been acquiring some experience. Like wedding Dresses, it is always very touching to be involved in creating an outfit to commemorate an important life milestone.
I have some lovely dresses in my studio from seasons past that are available at reduced prices. As I work on new designs I invite inquiries about these couture samples. And I welcome visits to my atelier in Chelsea. You may contact me on the contact page to make an appointment.
Devourè silk velvet dress - available
Brown silk charmeuse - available
African Poly-print dress - available
Draped Tissue cotton dress - sold
Dutch wax African print with flower appliquès - sold
Dark Brown silk velvet bias-cut dress - sold
Red wool draped dress - available
Flower print silk chiffon bias dress - available
Black silk velvet with appliquè- sold
20's inspired silk charmeuse and organza dress with beaded lace sleeve detail - available
Beaded back detail of 4-ply silk bias-cut dress - available
Thank you for visiting. Please go to my contact page if you would like to be added to my mailing list for studio sales twice a year or upcoming events.
I had a wonderful project to work on this winter - dresses for a travel-themed bat mitzvah for a mother and daughter. They had very developed ideas about what they wanted and had thought through every detail. I helped them execute their ideas and guide them through the process. We were delighted with the results and had a great time working together on this important milestone.
The "world" fabric was printed at Spoonflower who does both custom and stock printing on fabric and paper.
Her Mother also wanted her own dress to represent all the places they had traveled together. She collected travel patches from as many of these cities as she could find and gave them to me to sew on her dress.
We also showed the two continents representing Sadie's birthplace and her adoptive home cut out in wool felt and connected with a red stitched line.
The day of the bat mitzvah was one of the rare sunny days in a week of cold and rainy weather
Otherwise happening in the studio this month
Swatching for clients- choosing silk linings
Placement of print is always crucial- here it is gracefully figure-enhancing
I love texture and design- this piece is reminiscent of decorative stonework
A corner of the studio with blue and orange
I haven't posted for the last few months, but am excited to share some of what I've been working on. My studio and work have been a refuge. As always, art has been a part of my life and directly inspiring to my couture. Clients have brought me exciting fabrics to work with and some older pieces have returned for a brief visit. Color is always an important factor.
Rothko Paintings at Pace Gallery, Chelsea
Amber velvet Dress with a lace Bolero (unfinished) modeled as a tunic by Mary Jones
The colors in these Ron Gorchov Paintings at Cheim and Read Gallery in Chelsea are so lucious
work in progress
More to come soon. . .
On Dec 12, 1986- January 4 1987 - Almost exactly 30 years ago- I did a show at the E. M. Donahue Gallery called "Artists Choose Designer" . It was a cheeky title, because I actually chose 13 artists to design fabric for me rather than the other way around.
Garments were displayed on plaster cast dress forms and tension suspended from top and bottom with technical help from Diane Lewis and lighting design by Taro Suzuki