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 in Conversation with Laura Lees

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Fellow embroiderer, artist and designer Laura Lees is usually found creating highly colourful, fine art pieces furniture pieces but she took a little time away from her usual pursuits to speak with us about her work:

 

Hawthorne & Heaney: Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us today, we’d like to start by asking you the question we get asked quite a lot of how did you get into embroidery originally?
 
Laura Lees: I applied for a city and guilds embroidery course when I was 17 and fell in love with it then. I found my skills at drawing not exceptional but confident. I found a new level of ability with the needle and thread superior than that of drawing with a pencil.
H&H: And what is it that inspires you?
LL: The way you can transform something from the ordinary to the extraordinary. I love the feel of the threads, the sound the scissors make when they’re cutting fabric, the quality of line and the battering noise and speed of my beloved Bernina industrial sewing machine. most importantly, I love the clarity of heart and mind, the skill involved and the the fact that i am always learning.

H&H: What would you like your students to take away from your class?

LL: A real sense of achievement, pride and enjoyment.

H&H: Where can we see more of your works?

LL: I am preparing for an exhibition to take place at the end of the year, inspired by dutch author Joris Luyendijk s book ‘Swimmimg with Sharks’ which demistifys the financial world of the city banks. This resonated deeply with me, having amongst many others lost my fashion label in the 2008 crash.  I explore the ‘smoke and mirrors’ architectural language of finance by descending on what must be the least understood environment in Europe: the City of London. Taking the habitat of the so-called and self-described Masters of the Universe as my inspiration and translating the visceral world that lives and survives by opacity into tangeable abstract textiles.

H&H: Anything coming up in the pipeline you can share with us?

LL: I have recently launched The Mighty Stitch corporate workshops, The Mighty Stitch embroidery workshops teach teams a new skill, engendering engagement and motivation, ultimately creating a bespoke embroidered piece of art for your workplace. • Simple, supportive instruction • No experience needed, anyone can take part
Participants are encouraged to be playful and experimental – the workshops facilitate collaboration, communication, storytelling, mindfulness, and, most importantly, making a mess! Enhanced work environment we all need a bit of that, i think .

H&H: Thanks again, I’m sure we will be seeing much more of you with all that come up!

 

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Laura also has a Workshop coming up in April which will give the participants the opportunity to be a part of Laura’s work as the pieces created on the day will be encorporated into a new piece which will be exhibited at the RIBA as part of the London Festival of Architecture. Follow the link to secure your place for this intriguing and unusual opportunity:

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‘The Riba workshop is a full day, immersed in urban embroidery.  We will focus on how a city evolves through its inhabitants by learning freehand machine embroidery, hand stitching and applique. The outcome is to create an embroidered image of a building or architectural structure.  

Afterwards, I will explore how a city is fabricated by stitching together the individual and diverse pieces made by workshop participants into a new work to be exhibited a the RIBA as part of @londonfestivalofarchitecture

All artwork will be returned to the participants after the exhibition.
This workshop is part of the programme of events inspired by the exhibition ‘Mies van der Rohe and James Stirling: Circling the Square’. 

Urban Tapestry with Laura Lees, 22 & 23 April, 11am to 4pm
RIBA, 66 Portland Place, London, W1B 1AD
Booking at architecture.com/Workshop

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All images credited to Laura Lees

Hawthorne & Heaney for A V Robertson

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If you follow our Instagram, then  you may have seen our post earlier in the week about the Fashion East show which we were delighted to have played a part in.  The mancunian designer, A V Robertson who specialises in embellished womenswear created a collection of elegant looks with an abundance of 3D leaves and hand embroidered elements. We were responsible for creating the leaves and petals that grow out of the garments, each of which was individually hand made.

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The process started with making hundreds of meters bias binding which would seal and finish each of the pieces. As you can see Amie from A V Robertson had chosen a very exciting colour palette to work with, so there were many combinations to choose from.

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After pressing all the binding into shape, it was then applied to the center fabric that made up the body of the leaves.

img_0483With 8 colours of binding, 13 fabric insides and 8 leaf shapes, there were hundreds of potential combinations.

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Then it was over to Amie to put her creations all together, if you would like to see the whole collection, click here for the vogue website.

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Hawthorne & Heaney for Ong Oaj Pairam

With London Fashion Week well and truely underway, we thought we would share with you a little piece of Hawthorne & Heaney embroidery that made its way onto the catwalk. We worked with the Brighton based designer Ong Oaj Pairam on his AW2016 collection to produce a heavily encrusted, lace and crystal bodice.

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It was a pretty quick turn around so we used all the tools at our disposal when we were developing the techniqies. The collection has a dark fairytale/ Victorian lost love theme which we worked into the designs. Using our CAD embroidery machine we developed lace like flower and leaf designs to build up a heavy base and compliment the sheen of the duchess satin on which they would be placed.

IMG_2404Along side this we experiemented with a variety of different sequin techniques for creating floral effects

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Once this was all decided on then all there was left to do was to get stitching

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We were really pleased with the effect, it felt very heavy to hold but wonderfully textured. When teamed with the jaquard trousers and sheer shirt from the rest of Pairam’s collection it really comes to life.

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We hope you enjoy looking at this piece as much as we enjoyed working on it. Check in again with us to see what else we have been working on recently…

If you would like to see more from Ong Oaj Pairam, please visit his website

Hawthorne & Heaney for Clio Peppiatt at London Fashion Week

Clio Peppiatt’s recent SS16 show at London Fashion Week in Soho entitled “Kiss the Future”, was a fun collection full of bright colours and texture. Featuring an array of embroidery and sequins, Clio’s collection was inspired by feminism; a topic continuously used to fuel her inspiration.

Clio Peppiatt at LFW

Youth culture, another reoccurring influence for Clio Peppiatt was dominant in the collection. With strong nods towards the future in outer space-inspired needlework, her aim to create unique and positive clothes that make women feel happy, bold and fearless was clear in her most current collection.

Clio Peppiatt at LFW

Hawthorne & Heaney were commissioned to make of a pair of Saturn planets for a baby-pink cord jacket. The badges were all hand stitched, with iridescent sequins used for the embellished centre of the planets, and a combination of satin stitch and gold work for the rings.

Hawthorne & Heaney for Clio Peppiatt

The embroidered badges turned out beautifully and looked stunning on the pink jacket, the piece that truly represented the collection title, “Kiss the Future”.

 

For more imagery of show, follow Clio Peppiatt on instagram: @cliopeppiatt or visit her website here.