Saturday, April 27, 2013
I am not the 1%
Yesterday our plucky heroine took herself off to see the Alabama Chanin trunk show which was held at a downtown boutique. This was an experience both very pleasurable and very awful...
The shop that hosted this event was not the sort of shop I would ever set foot in voluntarily, being the sort of shop intended for the small subset of folks that might actually purchase Alabama Chanin clothing retail. That known, I put on my most dressy artist clothes, left my everyday knapsack at home in favor of a leather pocketbook, and set out to see what I could see... I did ask permission from the "doorkeeper" if I was allowed to take photographs, and was assured it was permitted, but when I went upstairs to the floor with the women's garments I was immediately accosted by the saleswomen, in a way that left me wondering if I had inadvertently stepped in farmyard leavings on my way up the stairs... Not since I was a young student, and was followed closely while shopping in the suspicion that I might shoplift have I been made to feel so out of place; truly if they had been looking any further down their noses, I would have not only seen their nostrils but under their chins...
Since there were no other customers, I was able to look at the garments set out, but was forbidden to take more than a few pictures; and as I was not placing an order, I could only dream of the delights that were inside the design notebooks that hold examples of the various combinations of stenciling, stitchery, beadwork that make up the surface design vocabulary of Alabama Chanin.
I was particularly taken with the use of wide bands along the armscye and neckline edge of some sleeveless garments, a sort of "non-facing" facing, that added substance to those edges
The fabrics are thinner than I expected, which gives the garments quite a bit more drape than might be expected, even double layers had a softness to them.
One thing I learned on this expedition was that most of the hand stitchery is at the large/long end of the spectrum she suggests in her books, more 1/4" than 1/8".
There was some use of variegated floss which added a subtle richness to the embroidery, and a variety of ways to fasten garments closed, from tie cords, to crochet-covered snaps, to loops and self-covered shank buttons.
It was a real treat to be inspired, to get a sense of the hand of the fabrics used, and to be able to see the details of her garments in person.