Couture Studio

Stitching Spring

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.

 threads and roses

threads and roses

 Barbara Haskell, my wonderful client, was recently profiled on NY1  speaking about her Grant Wood painting survey currently on view at the Whitney museum  she is wearing a custom red wool pants suit and black silk camisole with lace appliqué

Barbara Haskell, my wonderful client, was recently profiled on NY1  speaking about her Grant Wood painting survey currently on view at the Whitney museum

she is wearing a custom red wool pants suit and black silk camisole with lace appliqué

 Barbara wore a dress of mine to the opening of her Grant wood show  it is silk Gazar with lace capelet sleeves

Barbara wore a dress of mine to the opening of her Grant wood show

it is silk Gazar with lace capelet sleeves

 My husband, Artist Taro Suzuki, in front of Grant Wood's most famous painting -  American Gothic

My husband, Artist Taro Suzuki, in front of Grant Wood's most famous painting - American Gothic

 one of Grant Woods's oddly narrative paintings at the Whitney

one of Grant Woods's oddly narrative paintings at the Whitney

 Barbara Haskell profiled in the   NYTimes

Barbara Haskell profiled in the NYTimes

 red and blue Dutch Wax  dress in progress

red and blue Dutch Wax  dress in progress

 blue and fushia Dutch wax  Qipau  dress 

blue and fushia Dutch wax Qipau dress 

 A client brought me some beautiful Irish Tweed that she bought in Ireland in the 60's - there was just enough to make this coat with only tiny scraps left over

A client brought me some beautiful Irish Tweed that she bought in Ireland in the 60's - there was just enough to make this coat with only tiny scraps left over

 client wearing finished coat

client wearing finished coat

For my sister's 60 birthday her husband arranged a surprise dance party and I made her a surprise dress

 red, yellow and green wax-print dress 

red, yellow and green wax-print dress 

 it fits!!

it fits!!

 Indian block-print cotton Voile

Indian block-print cotton Voile

Happy Spring Everyone!

Collage Dresses

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.

 Coral silk Dupioni with silk velvet band and other fabrics

Coral silk Dupioni with silk velvet band and other fabrics

 Celedon silk and wool shift dress with  pockets

Celedon silk and wool shift dress with  pockets

 with the addition of velvet ribbons and crystal buttons these slippers become jewelry for the feet

with the addition of velvet ribbons and crystal buttons these slippers become jewelry for the feet

Celestial Suiting

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.  

 Tailored suit in a silk/wool blend, inspired by Dior

Tailored suit in a silk/wool blend, inspired by Dior

This "Raj" jacket is convertible into different configurations-  a simple fitted style or the pull back beribboned version shown here.

 wax-print jacket with optional silk tartan bows

wax-print jacket with optional silk tartan bows

a blue version of my "poppy" dress in wax-print cotton is an   example of  a figure-loving dress

 wax-print cotton - with selvage-edge finishing-    size 4  -  12     in various prints -  $475. - $575.   depending on customization   

wax-print cotton - with selvage-edge finishing-    size 4  -  12     in various prints -  $475. - $575.   depending on customization   

 wax-prints before washing

wax-prints before washing

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. . .

moon.JPG
qipau.jpg
 silk moirè taffeta from Paris

silk moirè taffeta from Paris

 I met this bright young student on New Year's Eve who wanted to try on my flower crown-  Happy New Year everyone!  Let's try and stay positive!

I met this bright young student on New Year's Eve who wanted to try on my flower crown-  Happy New Year everyone!  Let's try and stay positive!

Best Dressmakers and custom Tailors in NYC

The wonderful Linda Dyett originally wrote this article for the online magazine NY City Women from which I have excerpted here.

 suit and dresses by Elizabeth Cannon

suit and dresses by Elizabeth Cannon

 

Custom-Made Womenswear

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. 

Elizabeth Cannon

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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.   

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the full article appears here

 

 

 

Mother and Daughter bat mitzvah Dresses

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. 

 Sadie's Bat mitzvah dress

Sadie's Bat mitzvah dress

The "world" fabric was printed at Spoonflower who does both custom and stock printing on fabric and paper.

 Sadie was born in China and we used a red embroidered line to mark her  journey from her birthplace to her new home in New York city.  Tiny crystals mark all the places mother and daughter  have visited together.

Sadie was born in China and we used a red embroidered line to mark her  journey from her birthplace to her new home in New York city.  Tiny crystals mark all the places mother and daughter  have visited together.

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.

 Navy Silk Faille with Travel patches and continents

Navy Silk Faille with Travel patches and continents

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

 Batmitzvah Day

Batmitzvah Day

 Around the World in Sadie Days   

Around the World in Sadie Days

 

Otherwise happening in the studio this month 

 cotton stripe blouse 

cotton stripe blouse 

 

Swatching for clients-  choosing silk linings

Placement of print is always crucial- here it is gracefully figure-enhancing

 African Print "Cyclone" dress 

African Print "Cyclone" dress 

I love texture and design- this piece is reminiscent of decorative stonework

 Appliqué on silk charmeuse 

Appliqué on silk charmeuse 

A corner of the studio with blue and orange 

 Stripe silk pants, cotton shirt w/ embroidery, ponté knit camisole-  silk charmeuse top and skirt w/ barbed wire tie

Stripe silk pants, cotton shirt w/ embroidery, ponté knit camisole-  silk charmeuse top and skirt w/ barbed wire tie

 sketch for artist colab dress

sketch for artist colab dress

 detail - cotton tuck dress

detail - cotton tuck dress

 Book page from "Love in Venice" at the New York Public Library-  flaps lift up to show the courtesans' undergarments

Book page from "Love in Venice" at the New York Public Library-  flaps lift up to show the courtesans' undergarments

 Subway mosaic near the Museum of Natural History at 81 street

Subway mosaic near the Museum of Natural History at 81 street