I chose a Balmain Paris advertisement picturing five women all dressed head to toe in black garments. While these garments are sexualized through low cuts, transparent fabric and high heels, the photograph takes on a more masculine feeling. Their expressions are filled with hard stares, pouting and open mouths which are not the soft and kind faces that a woman is stereotypically expressing. Crushed red solo cups, popcorn and trash are scattered in the foreground, the women are gathered around a television playing video games. While women do partake in eating popcorn and playing video games, it is seen as more stereotypically male to have trash on the floor and friends surrounding a television. The model’s posture as well can be seen as more masculine. Instead of the stereotypical “lady like” posture of crossing their legs and sitting up straight. These models have their legs spread open and have a slouched posture, which is a posture typically performed as a man. Even though the garments themselves are more feminine, everything else about the women and the photograph are stereotypically masculine. In the book Fashion and Cultural Studies, Susan Kaiser states,“Gender is actually not just who we are; it is what we do or perform as we participate in an embodied way of cultural discourses.(2)” I think this idea of performing as a certain gender regardless of one’s sex works in a similar way in relationship between the actual garments and the gender the person is performing as. Clothing is not the driving force that defines a person’s gender, instead it is how one performs and acts that truly defines them. This advertisement is a good representation of that because these women in the photograph are dressed in feminine garments but are performing stereotypical masculine.


  1. Sorrenti, Mario, Balmain’s Spring Summer, 2015
  2. Susan Kaiser, Fashion and Cultural Studies, 123

Fashion Studies: Post 1 Aphorisms

Choose any two of Christopher Breward’s aphorisms from his foreword to Fashion StudiesPreview the documentView in a new window, which you read in Week 1. Explain what each of the two aphorisms means (in your own words) and explain why you agree or disagree with them.

“Fashion is intensely personal in the same way that poetry is intensely personal. It is a medium through which personal stories can be told, memories re-lived and futures foretold.”

This aphorism is saying that people use fashion to express themselves individually by telling their personal stories through clothes. I agree that fashion is very intimate. People wear certain things in order to express themselves/ personalities. People may also dress a certain way because of something they experienced in their past for example if a loved one passed away, one may wear their loved one’s jewelry. What we wear can express the person we want others to see us as. Fashion has a very intimate relationship with ones body. Each body is unique and thus garments interact with the body in different ways depending on size, color, texture etc. Even if two people are wearing the exact same outfit they will both appear as individuals because of their individual relationship with the outfit.

“Fashion is gossip. Never underestimate the power of gossip. Semiologists are driven into ecstasies of supposition by its whispers.”

This aphorism explains the huge influence of media and gossip on fashion. Especially because we are living in the age of technology, social media plays a large in our lives.  The use of social media to engage with consumers has created an even closer relationship between the brand and its “followers.” We are surrounded by the influence of media which is curated similar to advertisements promoting not only what we wear but how we act and carry ourselves. Celebrities use social media as a platform to influence us, encouraging us to purchase and wear certain styles. They work with brands to even further promote a certain aesthetic. Even outside of the world of fashion, online platforms dictate the information that we are exposed to. Influencing our way of thinking and acting. As the aphorism states,”never underestimate the power of gossip.”



This image is a Macy’s advertisement from a 1986 issue of Harper’s Bazar. (The designer is Anne Klein) In my research paper I discussed Anne Klein and her goal of empowering women with her clothing. Especially during a time (the 80s) when it started to become more acceptable for women to be in the workforce alongside men, Anne Klein wanted to help these women be taken more seriously. 



Scraps Final Shirt Designers Statement

The objective of the project was to use our scraps of leftover fabric from past projects of the semester to construct a shirt. For my final shirt project I wanted to focus on reuse and sustainability. I was inspired a lot by the Scraps exhibit at the Cooper Hewitt Museum. The way the artists used the scraps to create new textiles using water soluble interfacing and the use of everything from the left over thread to the smallest amount of fabric was incredible. I wanted to keep the design of the shirt very simple with only slight changes and exaggerations of a standard button up shirt. Those changes include one side being  longer than the other and an exaggerated the collar, collar stand, and cuffs. I decided to use my scraps by cutting them into strips and then weaving them together in order to create a new textile. I also sustainably dyed my fabric using onion skins, beets and cranberries. The water I used to make the dye came from my dryer. Usually one would have to empty the excess water and dump it down the drain but instead I used the dryer water in order to conserve water. For this project I wanted to step out of my comfort zone and use a textile with a lot of texture and color. The most challenging part of this project was sewing it together because the woven textile was very difficult to use. Especially sewing the flat felled and french seams it was difficult to fold and sew through the thick fabric and hard to control the ends of the woven pieces. In order to sew it I first cut out my pattern pieces in a light-weight muslin and then sewed them to the woven pieces. Overall it was a difficult experience but I was able to learn a lot through the process.


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Was first inspired by textiles at the Scraps Exhibit at Cooper Hewitt Museum.

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This is the shirt I took apart and made patterns for the shirt and adjusted them to make my design shirt patterns.

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These are the muslins for my design shirt. One side is longer than the other, with three quarter sleeves and an larger collar and collar stand.

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For my fabric I took all my extra scraps from the semester and naturally dyed some of them with beets, onion skins and cranberries. I then wove them all together.

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This is how I constructed the shirt. I sewed the woven piece to a light-weight muslin in the shape of the pattern piece and then cut them out.


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This is the final shirt.




I began by experimenting with different skirts. I used the method above as well as tried to add tiers and ruffles.


I decided upon a long 12 gore skirt.


When I first constructed the skirt I had to adjust the back pattern in order for it to fit properly, creating three new separate patterns to cater to the back.


I cut the front and back bodice into two simple shapes. Then I took the side closest to the side seam and added the layer on top in order to manipulate and emphasize it.

edit-5p1  This is the side after its manipulated.









cut out patterns

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sewed the 12 panels together and manipulated the sides of the bodice.

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Designer’s Statement Project 2

Project two was inspired by body dysmorphia, a disorder that causes one to overanalyze a part of their body that they perceive to be a flaw. I began the design process by experimenting with muslin to create different types of skirts. First, I lengthened the sloper and then used the slash method in order to make it fuller. I also added tiers and ruffles to the bottom. After attempting these methods I decided to construct a 12 gore skirt, a skirt made up of 12 vertical panels that hug close to the body then flare out at the bottom. I chose this because of the curve it would give to the overall body shape and putting emphasis on the bottom of the dress.

To balance out the bottom I wanted to also add weight to the bodice. I exaggerated the side pieces of the bodice, flowing from the front piece to the back. I did this by layering a large piece of fabric on top of the bodies and pulled it and folded it in order to made a large organic form that extended outwards. I wanted to make the exaggerated part as free flowing and natural as possible in order to represent the jumble of thoughts that goes through the mind of someone suffering from body dysmorphia. The front of the bodice has a deep v- neck in order to symbolize how exposed one could feel with an insecurity. The fabric I chose is a neutral light grey so that one could really focus on the exaggerated bodice instead of the color.

One of the most challenging parts of construction included making sure that each panel was carefully and accurately sewn together to ensure that the size of the dress would not become too large or too small. After realizing how tight the skirt fit on the mannequin I went back and re constructed the skirt with a smaller seam allowance. Overall I think that the dress conveys the ideas about body dysmorphia that I wanted to by exaggerating the sides of the bodice and the bottom of the dress.

research- body dismorphic disorder and desirable body types (historical)

“People with BDD can dislike any part of their body, although they often find fault with their hair, skin, nose, chest, or stomach. In reality, a perceived defect may be only a slight imperfection or nonexistent. But for someone with BDD, the flaw is significant and prominent, often causing severe emotional distress and difficulties in daily functioning.”

  • camouflaging (with body position, clothing, makeup, hair, hats, etc.)
  • comparing body part to others’ appearance
  • seeking surgery
  • checking in a mirror
  • avoiding mirrors
  • skin picking
  • excessive grooming
  • excessive exercise
  • changing clothes excessively

1800s  The Gibson girl- thin waist, large bosom, rounded shoulders, and smooth neck.

20s boyish figure, flat, lean

40s-50s curvy

60s long-haired, scrawny, feminine rocker charm.

70s and 80s, glorifying the “hard-bodied” tanned female form.



Emily Starobrat

History of Fashion Image Selection for Final




I found this image from the Harper’s Bazar from the 3184th issue published in March 1977. It is from a fragrance advertisement with the title “A NEW FLOWER FRAGRANCE: Flowers all around you. What a beautifully fresh way to update your clothes, your looks, your mood. And there is a new kind of fragrance which does just that. Put it on. Then add a flower scarf, too.” The advertisement is promoting florals by encouraging one to buy the fragrance that smells of flowers and pairing it with floral accessories.


I resonate a lot with this image because it reminds me of the photos my mom showed me of her when she was growing up. The slight curls of the hair to the natural makeup look, the model reminds me a lot of what my mom looked like during this time.


My personal design style is similar to what the model is wearing because she has large puffy sleeves that are made of a light fabric. I often have the girls that would wear my clothes with a more natural look which she is has with a rosey nude color and minimal eye makeup. She has more of an easy going feeling which also appeals to my design aesthetic.




This image is a Macy’s advertisement from the 3297th issue of Harper’s Bazar published in 1986. It is specifically an Anne Klein for an ankle length knit turtleneck.


I think the mood that the model’s expression and the choice of having it black and white evokes a certain mood that intrigues me. The model’s stance and positioning in front of what seems to be a store window creates a mysterious narrative that I find interesting.


It appeals to me because the simplicity is designed in a way that it doesn’t seem casual. My design aesthetic is similar to the clothing in the photo because the clothes are simple and somewhat timeless. The silhouette and the light knit fabric also appeal to me.





This is an article/ advertisement promoting sundresses. It has the title “THE FLOWER SKIRT- SUNDRESS: Skirts are great now. Some you hike way up and wear as sundresses. Some you hike way down on the hip. They all hug the body at one point. And they always show lots of skin.” and is part of the 3184th issue of Harper’s Bazar published in 1977. It is showing a new way to wear a sundress by encouraging one to hike up their dress to “show more skin”.


I was drawn to this image because of the different patterned and printed fabrics as well as the different weights and layers. The mood is bright and free flowing because of the background and the fabric but also gives off a confident sense because of her stance and not being afraid to show some skin.


I am particularly drawn to this image because of the light fabric weights and the colors that are present. Similar to the first image this image has an easy going feeling which relates a lot to me as a designer. I tend to design flowing and light fabrics with a lot of bunching and layering so this image relates very well to my design aesthetic.

Creative Technical Studio Project 01

Emily Starobrat

Creative Technical Studio


Designer’s Statement for Project 1

For this project I found inspiration in the structure of the architecture on Fifth Avenue. I examined everything including the construction of the buildings themselves to the more decorative elements on the exterior. I narrowed down my options and chose to specifically focus on fire escapes. The staggered ladders leading ascending from one floor to the the next, were the main inspiration for the design for the skirt. The line and shapes traveling upward represent the different silhouettes of the fire escapes. I chose to make the fabrics in a gradient order beginning with the striped one on the bottom, leading up to the navy blue denim and finishing with the black denim on the yoke and waistband. The gradient of the fabrics represent the sky reflecting onto the windows of the building. I selected a rusty orange color for my zipper, not only because of the color compliment between blue and orange but also in order to represent the fire escapes themselves, which are usually worn down from weather and over-use.

When I began the design process I started off with a more complicated design with multiple lines and shapes that portrayed the fire escapes in a more literal format. I simplified the design into three color blocked shapes, the edge of each block represent the line in which the fire escapes flow up the buildings. Although I think that my design may come off as an uncertain and organic representation of fire escapes, it is a much simpler and cleaner version of my original design.


Click the link below to view the process for the project.