In and around the studio

The last few weeks have been a mix of work in the studio, work on dance projects and lots of art.  Here are some randomly ordered fragments of the paths I have been on-

camel cashmire jacket and Dutch Wax African print dress   

camel cashmire jacket and Dutch Wax African print dress

 

cotton mini-check draped dress

cotton mini-check draped dress

Pots and drawings by Devin Dougherty

Pots and drawings by Devin Dougherty

Black chiffon dress with beaded collar

Black chiffon dress with beaded collar

I am very influenced by the seasons and generally try and keep pace with the season we are in , unlike designers who design a "line".  Couture work has it's own tempo.  I will, however, continue to work with the colorful African fabrics throughout the winter in advance of a summer trunk show.  

"Key"  Print Dress

"Key"  Print Dress

Painting by my dear late friend Ellen Cantor at Participant inc. nyc

Painting by my dear late friend Ellen Cantor at Participant inc. nyc

Gold Embossed Flower Organza jacket for client

Gold Embossed Flower Organza jacket for client

Mary Jones painting at John Molloy Gallery NYC

Mary Jones painting at John Molloy Gallery NYC

in progress. . .

in progress. . .

full length view of pinned dress in process

full length view of pinned dress in process

Ive been developing a dress directly from the fabric this time- using the motifs to suggest the lines of the dress- for example - the neck piece is a circle on the print-  I have been draping the dress and then transcribing the lines back onto a flat pattern so that I can remake it.

 trying the dress on

 trying the dress on

I am currently so inspired by transforming the pattern in a way that enhances the silhouette and leads to new discoveries.  I like that it forms the illusion of a vest or jacket with the orange pattern flowing from the top to the bottom. . .

The dress is filled with pins at this point that I am trying it on to see how it works on the body.  I usually have scratches on my arms and back from this process, but it is essential and I am my own fit model! 

pot and drawing by Devin Dougherty 

pot and drawing by Devin Dougherty 

I went to Gowanus in Brooklyn to an open studio in a charming carriage house to view the work of one of my clients.   This blue and orange pot reminded her of a dress she got at my sample sale last summer.  We plan to do a photo shoot documenting her in the dress next to the pot and drawing.   

sketch for a client for her daughter's bat- mitzvah including an embroidered connection between her daughter's birthplace in China and current home in the U.S. as well as travel patches from all the places they have visited together.   I will also be designing her daughter's dress with a map-printed fabric.

sketch for a client for her daughter's bat- mitzvah including an embroidered connection between her daughter's birthplace in China and current home in the U.S. as well as travel patches from all the places they have visited together.   I will also be designing her daughter's dress with a map-printed fabric.

Sails in rehearsal

Sails in rehearsal

I am working on a project for the Trisha Brown Dance Company.   They have been re-staging some of their  works to be performed in unconventional non-stage environments.  I was engaged to redesign these sails for "Geometry of Quiet" which will be performed at the Getty Museum in March.  We are working out downsized proportions as the sails have been transformed from stationary to hand-held.  They are also making changes in the choreography to accommodate this.     

Sails in rehearsal

Sails in rehearsal

elastic shirred back of "bandeau" for client out of lovely Italian print

elastic shirred back of "bandeau" for client out of lovely Italian print

summer flowers are still hanging on. . . .in the traffic meridian on my way to the studio. . . .

summer flowers are still hanging on. . . .in the traffic meridian on my way to the studio. . . .

summer dresses

it's summer. . .it's hot. . .dresses should be easy!

Lu is wearing a lightweight cotton satin dress with easy fitted bodice and lightly gathered skirt.

Lu is wearing a lightweight cotton satin dress with easy fitted bodice and lightly gathered skirt.

Brights with neutrals can be very beautiful for summer dinners or drinks with friends. . .maybe a linen coat for those chillier evenings at the shore. . .

El is wearing a silk shantung fitted dress with 3/4 sleeves and a metallic finish linen coat and, of course, pearls!

El is wearing a silk shantung fitted dress with 3/4 sleeves and a metallic finish linen coat and, of course, pearls!

I love to see my dresses in the environments where they are worn. . .these pictures were recently sent to me from clients-

Jill is wearing a grey cotton A-line dress with an African print bodice and red selvage details at the Jersey shore.  the dress also has side pleats which are not visible in the photo.  really no accessories needed except a great pair of sunglasses and shoes.

Jill is wearing a grey cotton A-line dress with an African print bodice and red selvage details at the Jersey shore.  the dress also has side pleats which are not visible in the photo.  really no accessories needed except a great pair of sunglasses and shoes.

Bethany is wearing a Wax-print ankle-length dress to a summer wedding in the Hamptons - looking fabulous with her dapper husband. . .accessorized with wide-brimmed straw hat and summer sandals.

Bethany is wearing a Wax-print ankle-length dress to a summer wedding in the Hamptons - looking fabulous with her dapper husband. . .accessorized with wide-brimmed straw hat and summer sandals.

Joëlle is looking festive, yet casuel in one of my Dutch / african Wax-print dresses - out to dinner in Marseille

Joëlle is looking festive, yet casuel in one of my Dutch / african Wax-print dresses - out to dinner in Marseille

Kristen in September in New York - nonchalantly  fabulous!  photo:   Harriet Shapiro

Kristen in September in New York - nonchalantly  fabulous!

photo:   Harriet Shapiro

Spending time with flowers

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I have been forever inspired by flowers.  As soon as Spring arrives, who cannot but be enthralled by the exquisite bursts of color that emerge from the monochrome months that proceeded it.  Each season has it's colors, it's fragrances and it's graceful forms.  If I could imitate, in one dress, the nonchalant grace that blooms so  profusely everywhere,  I would be ecstatic. Perhaps it is also their ephemeral nature that makes them so appealing.  Impossible to save or capture, like time itself. . .but there to enjoy, to savor and be inspired by.

 

My mother used to grow Zinnias in her garden every summer.  I had thought of them as country flowers and it has only been in the last few years, as I have seen them at the Farmer's Markets, that I considered trying to grow them myself in our window boxes.  This year I decided to grow them from seeds, so it has been doubly rewarding to see them come into flower and thrive.  They are not fussy- don't mind the scorching sun and are an endless source of happiness.

wedding sketches on a sunday morning

I love making wedding dresses.   It is always such a collaboration between the bride and myself.    It is a process of getting to know the bride- her life style, personality, likes and dislikes.   I want the bride to feel completely comfortable and herself on her wedding day. . . .and of course, beautiful.   The dress should feel organic and inevitable, as though it grew out of her life story.   The bride should feel simply gorgeous! There are as many wedding dresses as there are brides and I love taking that journey of creative exploration .   They, also, seem to love the process. . .

Alenćon Lace bodice with silk chiffon skirt and lightly beaded chiffon sleeves

Alenćon Lace bodice with silk chiffon skirt and lightly beaded chiffon sleeves

Lace Bodice - off the shoulder silk mesh wrap and silk mesh many-layered skirt

Lace Bodice - off the shoulder silk mesh wrap and silk mesh many-layered skirt

Silk Chiffon with beaded details and appliqué silk flowers - embellished cuffs

Silk Chiffon with beaded details and appliqué silk flowers - embellished cuffs

In philadelphia. . .

I was recently commissioned to re-make the costumes I designed for Trisha Brown's "O Zlozony / O Composite" by the Pennsylvania Ballet as part of their Spring season Balanchine and beyond.  Martha Chamberlain, a former dancer with the PA Ballet and now a costumer, made the pants and shorts for the piece.  The concept was padded corsets, supportive, protective and evocative of fencing attire.

Aaron Anker

Aaron Anker

The original piece was commissioned by the Paris Opera Ballet in 2004.

It was a delight to work with the talented dancers and costume shop in Philadelphia to create these costumes.

Lillian di Piazza

Lillian di Piazza

It is the sole ballet that Brown created during her 50 yr career.  to quote Susan Rosenberg from her program essay-

"Performed in all-white costumes designed by Elizabeth Cannon, whose stitching and armbands recall the attire used in the aristocratic art of fencing (considered a source for ballet's technical vocabulary), the choreography joins recognizable ballet moves- pirouettes, expansive leaps through space, and graceful port de bras- with Brown's vocabulary of rapid undulation of the spine, head and limbs, the use of simple walking, and the creation of linear as well as asymmetrical physical geometries"
Lillian Di Piazza

Lillian Di Piazza

Laurie Anderson composed the music with  text from  Czeslaw Milosz's poem "Ode to a bird", Vija Celmins did the set design of a starry night sky, and Jennifer Tipton designed the lighting.  

It was a truly magical time creating the original in the Palais Garnier in Paris,  and wonderful to revive it here in Philadelphia.  The piece was performed  June 9-12,  2016.