Hawthorne & Heaney visit Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams

Runway through the years #Dior #runway #couture

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Every now and then, there is an exhibition that we feel we just have to see, and usually one holds out until it (hopefully) comes to London. However the risk of missing out on ‘Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams’ at Musee Des Arts Decoratifs was one that was too great and we felt compelled to go. So last month, Natasha made the trip to Paris to see the much hyped display.

The exhibition begins with some history about Christian Dior’s family and his life before setting up the house as an art gallery owner and fashion illustrator. A brief introduction to the facets of the house it followed by the first main gallery. In this room, each section is divided by colour, each cabinate displaying a pallette with a variety of dresses, 12” minatures and accessories.

As an embroiderer, one of the most outstanding aspects of this exhibition was the level of detail you could see in the gowns and the emphasis that was placed on showing off the incredible textures. These were reflected in the papercut flowers and foliage that hung from the ceiling in a few of the rooms which were inspired by the fragrances that make up Dior’s famous perfumes.

Some of the textiles could be descibed as quite tradtional beading, whilst others would be considered to be more experimental, playing with feathers and layering but all were undeniably beautiful.

They also had an in house embroiderer demonstrating some tambour beading onto a panel of one of the gown and chatting with the public about what she was doing. The piece was framed up in a large slate frame, with one end complete and, the other drafted on. The drafts and drawings for the piece were hanging to one side of her with a partically completed gown on display behind her. The finished gown was part of the final gallery to put the whole process into context.

Tambour beading demonstration #Dior #tambour #embroidery

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The white gallery was reminiscent of the layout of the Savage Beauty exhibition at the V&A museum in London where you were dwarfed by the pieces, however here the emphasis was placed purely on the cut of the garments. Each one is the toile of a gown we had already seen in the body of the exhibition to explain the development of each piece and the alterations process it has been through to get to the final design.

Floor to ceiling toiles #dior #paris #dressmaking

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Final last gallery was all the real show stopping gowns, the space itself adds to the gravity of the items on display. They enhanced the experience with moving light displays across the walls which gave the impression of gold snow, unashamedly playing up to the couture fairytale.

Dior: designer of dreams was magical! #paris #fashionexhibition #dior

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It would be fair to say this exhibition was excellent, going around it all took at least 2 and a half hours going through it all but one could have stayed much longer. The amount of pieces on display and the generous space that was given to each one made it a very leisurely experience. I really enjoyed the way they played with scale in the lay out, starting off the with minatures gallery, then allowing you to get up close with the real sized pieces and then emmersing you in the white and final galleries.

If you would like to read another perspective on the exhibition, have a read of

‘Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams’ is on show at Musee Des Arts Decoratifs in Paris until 7th Jan 2018 so catch it while you have the chance!

Hawthorne & Heaney Visits Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion

When a major fashion exhibtion comes to London, we love to go and see what it is all about and the Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion Exhibition currently on at the Victoria and Albert Museum does not disappoint. Based in the fashion and textiles section of the museum, the exhibition goes through from the beginnings of Balenciaga as a brand, through to current designers that Balenciaga has influenced.

Starting downstairs, most of the historical garments and accessories are displayed with accompanying notes and toiles. There are a few pieces which have a video animation next to them of how the pattern goes together to make the garment function which are very informative and really demonstrate the complexity of the designs:

#balenciaga @vamuseum #patterncutting

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This accompanies the actual garment which it explains as well as a calico toile of the garment. A few pieces from the collection have been x-rayed as can be seen in the back of the next video which shows the many layers that go into a piece like this and the hidden support within some of the ‘simpler’ looking gowns.

@vamuseum #balenciaga #fashion #london

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X-ray photograph of silk taffeta evening dress by Cristóbal Balenciaga, 1955, Paris, France. X-ray by Nick Veasey, 2016. © Nick Veasey

They have a section which is dedicated to the fabric choices and embroideries used in some of the historical Balenciaga pieces. These include a wonderfully rich example of silk shading on a gown with an impossibly tiny waist and a very decadent textured jacket. The base embroidery of the jacket is demonstrated by an embroiderer from Paris based embroiderers Lesage recreating the design. See below for a snippet of the tambour beading over long silk stitching.

Wild silk evening dress (detail), Cristóbal Balenciaga with embroidery by Lesage, 1960 – 2, Paris, France. Museum no. T.27-1974. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Going through the exhibition, the different approaches to each of the pieces are explained as Cristobal Balenciaga applied both tailoring and dressmaking techniques to his pieces. He was know for his surgical precision, often pictured in a lab coat measuring and remeasuring sections. A selection of traditional tailoring tools are displyed including shears, pressing ham, chalk shaving box and tracing wheel.

Cristóbal Balenciaga at work, 1968, Paris, France. Photograph by Henri Cartier-Bresson. © Henri Cartier-Bresson/Magnum PhotosMoving upstairs, the exhibition focuses more on Balenciagas lasting legacy and those he has inspired. Against the dombed ceiling, three videos of current designers such as Mollie Goddard and Gareth Pugh who speak about how Balenciaga has influenced them and their design work. A series of parallels are drawn between contemporary designs and historical Balenciaga pieces such as the below by Hussein Chalayan and Oscar De La Renta which are likened to textured coat and silk work dress previous mentioned.

This exhibition is a well rounded insight into the Balenciaga brand with lots of lovely couture examples and the technical specification to go with them which is interesting for those with and without exisiting fashion knowledge.  Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion will be running at the Victoria and Albert Museum‘s Fashion and Textiles Gallery Space (Room 40) until Sunday 18th February 2018 so if you have the opportunity to see it, it is worth the visit. Tickets cost £12.00 and some concessions are available.

All images and videos courtsey of Natasha Searls-Punter (@tashasearlspunter) unless otherwise stated.

Hawthorne & Heaney Bridal Bespoke

Bridal couture embroidery bespoke custom london

Hawthorne & Heaney we are excited to reveal our new venture in producing Bespoke Bridal Fabrics. For the past 5 years, our company has produced the most beautiful embroidery! We have had a lot of experience working in the Bridal industry and through this, have gained an understanding of what is needed to bring a designers idea to life.

Bridal couture embroidery bespoke custom london floral

Bridal couture embroidery bespoke custom london wedding

Bridal couture embroidery bespoke custom london made

We have really established our love and passion for couture. If you are a bridal/couture company, or just someone looking for bespoke bridal embroidery then give us a call on 020 7637 5736 to book an appointment to view our couture samples at our studio in central London.

We would also be happy to come to your studio to show you some of our work!

Please email claire@embroidery.london or call 020 7637 5736 to make your enquiry.

Bridal couture embroidery bespoke custom london couture wedding

Hawthorne & Heaney for London Embroidery School

gold outline interiorsHawthorne & Heaney like most advocates of an ancient art feels the need to make sure that we pass the skills needed to make these beautiful pieces onto the next generation in order to try and preserve the skills. Therefore, from April, The London Embroidery School will be moving into the Hawthorne & Heaney office in Mayfair on the weekends.

Jaye Tambour 2

There is a range of the most popular classes that capture the essence of the work that we create available for the public to book and parcipate in. Couture Tambour beading, traditional military Goldwork and the much coveted and widely admired Lace Group are now available. So if you would like to dip your toe into Hawthorne & Heaney’s world, workshops from the London Embroidery School can be booked hereacorn gold work small

Hawthorne & Heaney for Jaye Pearce

A few months ago we were approached by an interiors consultant called Jaye Pearce for a rather special project, her wedding dress. She had decided she wanted something different and being a creative person, decided that she was going to have a little more of a hand in what her gown would look like than just choosing it, she was going to design it.

jaye fullIMG_1777jaye rose detail

This is the point where we starting discussing the possibilities for making her design a reality so Jaye presented us with a detailed sketch of the design she wanted for the top of her outfit which was going to be in a very sheer fabric with delicate beadwork. The design comprised of deco inspired fans complimenting the contours of the body, a scattering of stars and romantic cabbage roses surrounded by daisies.  The design had a quite whimsical nature with all its delicate components so to reflect this is was decided that the beads would be a combination of seed pearls and satin cut frosted glass beads in the traditional ivory tone. This was highlighted with very fine silver stitched details which offset the lining which was in a vintage blush pink.

Jaye has very kindly sent us some pictures from her big day where you can see the full outfit in all its splendour and so you can see the beading how it is meant to be seen.

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And here’s the lady herself, congratulations to the happy couple for all the ladies at Hawthorne & Heaney!

Jaye+Sinanlr-303Jaye+Sinanlr-241

JAMES LONG

James Long jacket embroidery by Hawthorne & Heaney

For their last (certainly not least) offering for LFW AW12/13 the designers at Hawthorne & Heaney had the pleasure of working with James Long.

One jacket topped with cornely chain stitch and military plate came out mid show giving us a taster of the finale which was a fully embroidered jacket covered in military plate, cloth of gold and solid gold smooth and rough purl.

The effect was incredible and H&H were privileged to work with a designer with the skill to use such ancient, intricate techniques with such a successful, modern application.

Thank you to GQ for the images !

KANYE WEST

This season the studio has been busy with a particularly interesting client with an exciting brief. We had to keep the project confidential during production but are now very excited to be able to share some photographs of the outcome.

We were approached by Louise Goldin’s team on behalf of Kanye West, and asked to advise on the design and production of an embroidered ladies jacket. This would be part of Mr West’s first catwalk collection to be shown during Paris Fashion Week 2011. With a tight lead time of two weeks this project had to be undertaken in our UK studio, enabling our team to respond quickly to the necessary revisions to the design whilst maintaining the exacting standards required for such an intricate piece.

A project like this required a huge amount of preparation, for example each one of the 1028 PP32 Swarowski crystals were placed in their settings by hand by the team.

In collaboration with Mr West’s team we produced a fully embroidered, diamante and beaded jacket depicting a tiger’s jaw and head markings.

This was an exhilarating and challenging project to be involved with and we thoroughly enjoyed working with Mr West and his team.

All designs are Copyright Mr K West.