Alexander McQueen Versus Jean Paul Gaultier and Fabric Manipulation

1. Alexander McQueen has always considered himself a rebel. He feels he doesn’t fit in with the world of couture fashion, but is instead a bit of an outsider. His amazing technique is undeniable, however, and is inspired by almost anything. He claims he can go months without creating anything, but he is always collecting information. He feels his mind is similar to a tank, always filling with ideas, and when it is full he empties it out onto paper, stating that he designs entire collections in one day. He doesn’t limit his mind to any particular way of thinking, and dislikes repetition, so he makes all of his collections very different from one another. His technical background allows him to create anything he wants, and his imagination guarantees that each piece will be intriguing, unique, and original. When he first began designing clothes for his brand, his team was small and didn’t do fittings, but instead let their creativity flow and go wherever it may. He is called a producer, director, and editor all in one, which coincides with his love for dramatic spectacles. His shows have a very cinematic feel, and movies often inspire elements of his creations. One of his collections was inspired by the movie The Shining, which takes his clothes beyond fashion and into the realm of art and performance. His imagination does not take away from his technical skills, however. He is inspired by 16th century patterns as well as modern patterns, and everything he does is based on his experience. Because of his technical background, he strives to make each piece perfect. He does not alter his collections to sell to the public, his clothes are what they are, a display of extreme drama.

Jean Paul Gaultier began his work in the technical field, but always dreamed of designing couture. He was heavily influenced by his grandmother, and recalls smelling her perfumes, powders, and nail polishes, and loving them all. This is evident later in his life, when he develops a long-time best selling fragrance. He was also inspired by the punk movement, and is very interested in challenging social norms. He often designs androgynous clothes, putting men in skirts and women in suits. The woman he designs for is a strong woman, like Frida Khalo, Josephine Baker, and Joan Miro. His fashion shows are theatrical spectacles, and are often less about fashion than they are about expressing himself. When it comes to designing, he prefers a small team and keeps his old friends close – like his childhood friend, and models from the past. He often incorporates elements from different cultures in a theatrical way.

Both McQueen and Gaultier display a sense of playfulness and humor, and neither take themselves or their art too seriously. They both identify themselves as sort of misfits, and love to use their freedom to go against socially accepted fashion. They are both heavily inspired by cinema, and their shows display this. They make every collection very different and unique, and neither have a set style they follow. They love playful collections that incorporate humor and fantasy. They differ in the fact that McQueen designs a collection in a day after thinking about it for a long period of time, while Gaultier spends more time to make his ornate couture. McQueen also designs many collections a year, while Gaultier comes out with fewer collections a year. I can relate more to McQueen’s process, as I also tend to produce nothing for a long time, then let my ideas pour out at one time. I also relate to McQueen’s almost sculpture-like technique when designing certain outfits, because I like the 3-D aspect and find myself working in 3-D very often. They both have their specific processes that they follow, but still come out with amazing collections.

2.My idea of beauty isn’t created, but instead found in nature. Each of my fabric manipulation swatches represent different aspects of nature, with an abstract twist. My first swatch is inspired by the gills found on the underside of mushroom caps. I used 5 creased strips of muslin and hand sewed them to a fabric square, but created a varying curving line pattern to make the design more ornate. I intended for my second swatch to reflect soft waves. I cut parallel slits in a fabric square in various places, and weaved a strip of muslin through these slits. This reminds me of the constantly flowing, but seemingly connected tide of the ocean. The third swatch contains a border made up of 4 muslin strips, and another strip running vertically down the middle. I also incorporated leaf shaped muslin pieces and sewed them to the border, making the small tips of each piece point towards the middle area. Leaves were the inspirations for this piece, and the swatch ended up reminding me of leaves pressed against a window. When I was creating the fourth swatch, I had an idea of what I wanted, but wasn’t completely sure what aspect t of nature I could mimic. I realized the vein-like folds reminded me of the uneven bark of a tree, so I sewed the folds in a way that connected most of them, which is similar to bark. The fifth swatch represents the imperfect, yet beautiful; shards of oyster shells that can be found tucked in sand at the beach. Oyster shells are not originally jagged like this, but after being washed on shore, they become broken, and to me, more beautiful than ever. The last swatch was partly inspired by rain drops, but can work for any flowing liquid substance found in nature. The hanging pieces don’t look exactly like raindrops, but the abstract nature makes the piece more unique than just portraying dripping water.

I tried to use a variety of natural elements, a few pertaining to water, and a few pertaining to land. My idea was the bring out the inherent beauty of nature, while adding details and decorations that would enhance the depth of each piece, and make them more interesting. My collection has a serene, calm feeling, which is what many people feel when they are surrounded by nature. I used a lot of curving lines, which are very organic; you will rarely see an item in nature that is clean cut, perfect, or even. Nature is constantly moving and changing, and my swatches reflect this flowing, lively characteristic of nature. Beauty can be found almost everywhere, but I feel the Earth is the most pure, everlasting form of beauty. My collection is an ode to the things humans tend to forget and take for granted, but wouldn’t be able to survive without.

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