Initially in this two part exercise I am to look at a designer brand characterised by their use of print and pattern and answer the question ‘do I think this is primarily about aesthetic consideration or is it in part an attempt to create an identifiable brand that can then extend to other products such as fashion accessories, household items etc?
When thinking of designer brands which use print and pattern my thoughts gravitate towards the fashion house end of the market. Chanel, Yves St Lauren and Gucci are known for their use of their own logo as a print pattern. I first looked at the Gucci pattern which I found on a site about handbags. Despite myself I was drawn into reading about different ways to tell real handbags apart from fake ones, its actually pretty interesting! In this photograph below the author uses the example of the stitching to tell the difference. She says that the real Gucci stitches in the weave are more like little bathroom tiles whereas the fake ones merge together more at the edges. I was fascinated!
Moving on from handbags, I looked at other places Gucci use their logo. I found it on everything from shoes to perfumes.
One thing I noticed were the different arrangements of the large gold GG. Until looking at their products properly I had always assumed that they were the same on everything. Now I have seen them displayed in several different ways, side by side, interlocking, reflected on both the horizontal and vertical plane. I would guess that this is to complement the particular item which is being displayed.
It also helps me understand their material pattern choices more. Initially I was wondering why I could only find one type of Gucci pattern material. Now I am considering that by maintaining just the one type of logo patterned material the brand is easier to recognise, and it matters less if people do not intially notice the GG in an unusual combination.
So to answer the initial question, yes, I think this is part of the attempt to create an identifiable brand that can then extend to other products.
(Just for comedy value….check out this rather grubby looking womens sneaker….a Gucci bargain at £615!)
For the next part of this exercise I am to do some research into the work of Mary Katrantzou. I am to start my research at a given article and then make notes on what I think of the articles reference to ‘the room on the woman’ and ‘the woman in the room’.
I started with the article I was instructed to read. As in previous exercises on typing in the articles web address I was redirected to a shopping page so I can only assume some of the teaching aids listed in the manual have fallen to the passing of time.
On Youtube I found one of her Ted Talks. During this talk she talks passionately about practical and mental limits. She talks about pushing through these limits and about how initially she did a lot of thinking but not a lot of trying, followed by the turn around and subsequent success.
Initially from Greece, studying architecture and moving into design she is very much a self generated success story. On transferring to St Martins she initially studied interior design prints feeling it was a natural progression from architecture. Feeling that she was at the back of the class pack she decided that it was because everyone else was making design using the female figure. This was the moment she started to turn to fashion design. Katrantzou thought that technology would be the key to her success but had a significant barrier of not knowing how to use it. Having taught herself Photoshop she started to create the print and drapery combinations which have made her so well known. Eventually she used the combination of placement prints with exceptional attention to the cut of an article of clothing to great effect.
Whilst searching around the internet I found examples of her runway shows which heavily feature her Greek origins. There were a few examples of print being used, such as the outfit below. I believe that this one is supposed to represent temple steps? Achieved through the use of repetition and size differential.
On looking specifically for her placement prints I found examples such as this from her Spring 2010 ready to wear range. The location of the print on this dress is absolutely essential in creating the proper dynamic effect that Katrantzou is after. The sweep of the orange as it travels over the left hip and towards the right knee emphasises dynamism and movement whilst the orange ruffle on the bodice gives a three dimensional effect.
I started to find references to “putting the room on the woman” in blogs about London Fashion Week. In an article on fashionwandering.blogspot.com The author refers to Katrantzou’s ‘inspiration for her prints and silhouettes from the most polished and excessive objects found in the apartments of the elite, such as Fabergé eggs‘.
From this I am assuming that the reference ‘put the room on the woman’ refers to the inspiration from inanimate objects inspiring these dress prints and designs. The photo above shows the crucial placing of what looks like an actual ceramic pot onto one of the models. This is a further example of the crucial relationship between the cut of a garment and the print placement.
I found references to ‘the woman in the room’ in an article for Vogue by Tim Blanks. The message of the article is that these outfits are more practical, the woman has been thought of as their end user as opposed to a walking display rack. The bright plethora of multiple prints is still in full swing s these women imagined by Katrantzou are surrounded by opulence and glamour.
This dress for example is almost normal compared to several of the examples previously used! This one reminds me of a tapestry or carpet or something similar.
Both the approaches of ‘woman in the room’ and ‘room on the woman’ are bold and striking. The attention paid to the cut of the fabric, the unusual idea of placement printing and the unabashed revelry in the designers imaginative flights of fancy have combined to create some stunning articles of clothing. It’s been quite enjoyable learning about the journey of Mary Katrantzou!
Assets.vogue.com. (2019). [online] Available at: https://assets.vogue.com/photos/55c651b308298d8be2268261/master/pass/00140fullscreen.jpg [Accessed 29 Dec. 2019].
Assets.vogue.com. (2019). [online] Available at: https://assets.vogue.com/photos/55c651b308298d8be2268259/master/pass/00060fullscreen.jpg [Accessed 29 Dec. 2019].
Vogue. (2019). Mary Katrantzou Fall 2011 Ready-to-Wear Fashion Show. [online] Available at: https://www.vogue.com/fashion-shows/fall-2011-ready-to-wear/mary-katrantzou [Accessed 29 Dec. 2019].
Fashionwandering.blogspot.com. (2019). Mary Katrantzou: The woman in the room. [online] Available at: http://fashionwandering.blogspot.com/2011/02/mary-katrantzou-woman-in-room.html [Accessed 29 Dec. 2019].
Wiseman, E. (2019). Prints and the revolution: fashion designer Mary Katrantzou. [online] the Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/fashion/2012/feb/12/prints-fashion-designer-mary-katrantzou [Accessed 29 Dec. 2019].
Dilouambaka, E. (2019). A Novice’s Guide To Mary Katrantzou And Her Designs. [online] Culture Trip. Available at: https://theculturetrip.com/europe/greece/articles/a-novices-guide-to-mary-katrantzou-and-her-designs/ [Accessed 29 Dec. 2019].
Assets.vogue.com. (2019). [online] Available at: https://assets.vogue.com/photos/5d970d01df64fb00083e457f/master/pass/_CSC4060.jpg [Accessed 29 Dec. 2019].
Vogue. (2019). Mary Katrantzou Spring 2020 Ready-to-Wear Fashion Show. [online] Available at: https://www.vogue.com/fashion-shows/spring-2020-ready-to-wear/mary-katrantzou [Accessed 29 Dec. 2019].
BAGAHOLIC 101. (2019). Ultimate Real vs. Fake Gucci Bag Guide – The Gucci Bag Material – BAGAHOLIC 101. [online] Available at: https://bagaholic101.com/ultimate-guide-on-how-to-tell-if-a-gucci-bag-is-real-or-fake-the-gucci-material/ [Accessed 29 Dec. 2019].
Pinterest. (2019). Sale! Sugar gumpaste fondant GUCCI style purse and shoe cake toppers decorations fashion cakes in 2019 | Gucci cake, Fashion cakes, Shoe cakes. [online] Available at: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/155303887206346217/?lp=true [Accessed 29 Dec. 2019].
Lxrco.com. (2019). Authentic Gucci bags, purses, accessories. [online] Available at: https://www.lxrco.com/en-US/gucci [Accessed 29 Dec. 2019].
Gucci.com. (2019). GUCCI for Women | Women’s Fashion | GUCCI© UK. [online] Available at: https://www.gucci.com/uk/en_gb/ca/women-c-women [Accessed 29 Dec. 2019].