Monday, August 22, 2011

Autumn is in the air....

 Rectangle dress of midnight silk jersey and hand turned wooden bangles

Thursday, September 8th 6-9 pm
informal fashion presentation and drinks at Post 27
to warm the new frei studio space, and view the fall 2011 collection
1819 W. Grand Ave
Chicago, Il 60622

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Behind the Scenes Fall 2011 Photoshoot

A quick glimpse of behind the scenes of the photo shoot for the Fall 2011 Line Look book...

Thanks to the beautiful photography of Jason Robinette and Leslie, the model/muse, and Colleen, the makeup extraordinaire,Marisa, the moral and style support, and Colin, the other intern, the shoot seamlessly unfolded.  Sporting brisk autumn rosy cheeks, a heavy brow, and merlot stained lips, Leslie exemplified an equal balance between masculinity and femininity.  As Leslie wore masculine makeup in the first half of the shoot, her feminine looks were complimented beautifully, and vice versa as half way through the makeup became more feminine.   

Ideal for Autumn, the lighting was moody and unlit, with the exception of a glowing light from the left.  This dual contrast strongly complimented the notions of femininity and masculinity throughout the shoot.           

Colin, the trusty intern, carefully steaming a garment before the shoot

Intern Love

handknit alpaca cardigan with charlie brown zigzag and grey sweater for fall...most definitely my favorite pieces of the fall collection

beautiful wood bangles used in the shoot courtesy of Annie's BF Rob

turban/"doo rag" like hat

prepping for the shoot

the makeup station and gathered inspiration photos

prepping for look 1 with model Leslie

hey there lil bustle

Leslie looking spacey in look 2

Gallery Owner/business woman chic in Look 3

Leslie in the beautiful knit alpaca sweater and plaid trouser

Merlot colored silk top with grey trouser pant

peplum jacket with trouser

cashmere blend wool blazer, such a beautiful piece,
and grey trouser pant

box tanks with trouser 

ruffle top with double circle skirt

alpaca zigzag striped cardigan with double circle skirt

silk pleat skirt with blue back pleat shirt and button front top

nomad wrap with bias silk slip

floral silk dress on top of bias slip

And the last look as well as one of our favorite looks...

silk jersey rectangle dress

This peek behind the scenes brought to you by Maggie Thoms,
incoming senior at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago
frei summer intern

Monday, August 8, 2011

it takes 2 baby....

Friday, August 12th 7-11 pm

workshop has been a physical space in pilsen for the past two years.
in those two years, we have hosted 20 exhibits featuring local area artists from painting to photography and beyond,
we have showcased the work of several local clothing and accessory designers, and held literary forums with writers.
We have featured live music with area musicians, and worked closely with neighborhood organizations
and non profits to raise money and awareness for their causes.
We created a space where conversations were encouraged regarding the ethics behind
production practices and sustainability within the fashion industry.  we worked hard to make a place that
transcended a retail environment and encompassed the community, while engaging a variety of creative people
from all mediums.
It has been a wonderful two years, building workshop while meeting a beautiful community of folks.
please join me in celebrating the accomplishments of this past 2 years, and raise a glass to the future!
the lovely ladies of fine line magazine will be in store, selling copies of their last 3 issues.
if i do not catch you on friday, please come and see me, and the new fall collection, over at post 27
at the beginning of september!
818 W 18th St. Chicago, IL

Thursday, August 4, 2011

fall 2011 inspirations part 1

image from "The Virgin Spring' Henrietta Hellberg & Hedvig Palm by Julia Hetta fro ACNE SS11 editorial by, taken from Fashion Copious

for the fall 2011 photo shoot, i wanted a moodier lighting since we are shooting in Jason's studio and not on location- but I also enjoyed the Rembrandt quality of the light source here, coming from the natural light of an open window?  I feel like the mood in this image is touching upon what I am after... I am also enjoying the flushed cheeks - reminds me of fall when thinks get a little bit brisk

hair and makeup are a little trickier- the model I am using has long, and lovely hair, so I am in the process of trying to figure out how to style it.  I am kind of into the idea of having two looks:  One a little bit more feminine with hair down and long, and another that is a bit more masculine to play up this duality of character I have in mind.
I am thinking I want a strong brow- and I mentioned the flushed fall cheeks.... hair is always hard for me to think about for some reason- maybe it is because I rely so heavily on my best gal and hair/ makeup artist:  Colleen O'Sullivan, whose aesthetic I trust a great deal- I can usually ramble off some thoughts, and she always hits the nail on the head with whatever she comes up with.  We have worked together on so many shoots at this point that she probably knows what I want before I do.
As far as makeup goes, I was originally thinking a look like this- but not quite so "done"
and I like the strong brow- but the dark eye shadow may be a little too much especially if we are adding a lot of color to the cheeks.

 I have continued to be inspired by the images unearthed in the collection of color photos from the 30's and 40's in the archives of the Library of Congress.  I have been especially drawn to the images of strength in the women that were producing and working at home while their husbands and brothers were fighting abroad during the second world war.  I know the image of Rosie the Riveter has been drilled into our subconscious, as propaganda seems to do that, but the fact is, the pure can-do-titude of women during this time of crisis created a fertile ground for the women's movement.  And it is refreshing to see the liberation of women unfolding in these images of real Rosies:

I am also thinking about implimenting a "doo rag" head wrap type of look
but of course- I need to figure out how to give that a modern feel- I am not trying to re create a vintage look, but I am interested in how i can pull inspiration from its' essance, and make it modern and my own.  This is always the challenge of the designer- I am not trying to appropriate, merely gain inspiration from these images.  To pick and to pull, and re-assemble- in my own way!
The photo shoot is literally my favorite part of designing each collection- it's when you get to tell the story- and I love to tell stories.

The mix of the masculine and feminine in this image is of particular interest to me.  Always, while designing- I am careful to try to balance the frilly details with a masculine cut or vice versa.  As i was researching this era, I became really obsessed with "make do and mend", a slogan urging women to mend older clothes or even to re-purpose their husbands "civies" and old suits, into smart outfits for themselves.  This, of course, created a new kind of fashionable attire that was masculine in detail but feminine in it's application. (there is something so amazing about the above image- the silk blouse with the leather work gloves) There were detailed books and magazine articles showing how one could lay a pattern on top of an old men's suit or coat, to utilize the material in the most efficient way to create a new garment.

a propoganda image to promote make-do and mend

One of the pieces for FA11 was inspired 100% from this concept.  I bought several wool men's suit jackets from the thrift store and began to try to felt them down, i cut them apart and took them in, I tried to make the fit more feminine, while keeping the details masculine.  The result was a lovely new fit with a masculine feel- it will be appearing in FA11 in a navy wool/ cashmere blend- and I am really excited about it.
let's talk about blond ambition
let's talk about modernity versus nostalgia
one of my very first icons of fashion was Madonna- I know I am not the only little girl who stared for hours at the cover of my "Like a Virgin" album cover and thought to myself "Now THAT is a woman"

(again with the strong brows)

The thing is, Madonna is just as sexy in a men's 3 piece suit as 
she is in a lacy bustier.

Madonna channeling Marlene Dietrich during her blond ambition era

It's sexy to mix feminine and masculine when done correctly, a finger wave do and some long lashes will help create balance, and that suit should fit you in such a way that enhances and embraces femininity-  balance is good thing.  It is not so shocking these days- to see a woman in a suit,
as it was in the time of Marlene Dietrich-  but I do think there is something to discuss when the entire country, or world wants to have it out over how Hillary Clinton looked in her suit, during the 2008 elections as opposed to how Sarah Palin looked in her suit....

In the FA11 collection, I suppose I was trying to create the wardrobe around a woman who has somehow achieved balance in her life- she has style and ambition, but she also finds power in her ability to be still as well.  She finds contentment in her career, but also the small pleasures of life:
planting things and getting her hands dirty in the soil.  Perhaps it is the new feminism- we embraced sisterhood and women's rights, then threw it away to be CEOs and working girls, then we tried to figure out the way to do both and have it all, a career, a family, a home, a this, a that.... I am not sure, personally what the answer is- or how to achieve balance.  I feel like women are constantly making sacrifices- sometimes their home life suffers, sometimes their career suffers, sometimes there is no time alone to reflect.  I suppose I am wanting to create a wardrobe, for this woman that I have yet to meet, or that I would like to be, maybe it is just part of a visualization technique.  But these are some of the themes swirling around fall. 


this gorgeous ring from Erie Basin is only $1750.00
Apparently it is Edwardian
with a cognac diamond- simply lovely.