Creating · This-and-That

Color, Venice and Valentino • This and That July 2021

“Fashion is not ‘art’, because the latter is sufficient in itself while the former always has a purpose, a function, a use. Recognizing the differences is the first step to instructing mutual listening, made up of curiosity, enthusiasm, and respect. This listening needs time, just like Haute Couture and ultimately also like art. In fact, the maturation of the project was slow, a rhythm perhaps unusual for our world but just and intimate for the world that I would like to.” -Pierpaolo Piccioli (from here)

And if you understood that, then you are more experienced than I in the language of haute couture–the clothing, the dresses, the fashion that is more concept than something you would hang in your closet. But just like the movie The Devil Wore Prada in that withering scene where Meryl Streep’s character critiques Ann Hamilton’s sweater, the fashion houses often tilt us to what’s coming in shape, in color and in what we’ll be wearing post-pandemic when we finally decide to crawl into stores and buy ourselves some clothes.

It’s also very likely that we’ll be seeing some influences on the colors we use in our quilts, or maybe even the shapes we’ll experiment with (if you are a half-way, non-traditional quilter). Or not.

So I was pretty amazed by the colors put together by the designer for Valentino, Pierpaolo Piccioli, and while I can’t pretend to really absorb what he said (above), I do speak the language of color, and thought you might like to see some of his designs, shown recently in the magical city of Venice, Italy. The contrast between that very old city with its own recent struggles with over-tourism, pollution and dwindling residents is a perfect contrast and foil to the glamorous, hand-sewn clothing made with extraordinary precision with pricey fabrics.

As Vanessa Friedman of the New York Times wrote: “[The designer Piccioli] has been conversing with contemporary artists — about their work, sure, but mostly about life in general, process, emotion, what turns them on — thinking about how to integrate their points of commonality in cloth…The result — shown at sunset beneath the brick arches of the former shipbuilding yard of Venice, with water lapping at the edges of the runway…was as powerful an argument for the interconnectedness of time, human connection and creativity as anything fashion has produced. The lushness of Mr. Piccioli’s palette — as a designer, he is the best colorist since Yves Saint Laurent — was on full display; so was his throwaway elegance, and his generosity. Not just to his atelier (his show notes name-checked the individuals who sewed each garment [italics are mine]) but to the bodies that will wear the clothes.”

from here

So, what do I see?

In the above image, I see scale: large shapes on a larger garment, then those same large shapes on a more narrow profile of a dress. The designer plays with scale in many of his other pieces, using different shapes to emphasize different parts of the body, and different lines (like those flowing hats!).

I also see a lot of color blocking: large swaths of color against slivers of color (a bit of scale, again), causing each to accent the other. This collection is not about fussy little prints. Mostly I see lush, elegant and rich, deep colors:

palette generator from here

This palette is missing the mint of the shirt. Sure, it’s a metallic shimmer of color and hard to catch, but that really makes this grouping, in my mind.

In this one, the palette generator is capturing a lot of the background, but it’s that’s slice of bubble-gum pink against those deep coral trousers which really caught my eye. The grey isn’t those flat greys we are used to seeing in our quilting fabrics, but a soft mellow gray, warmed up slightly, but not heading towards taupe or green-gray — maybe a deep off-white?

Orchid appears to be heading our way, but a vivid hue of that color, especially when paired with bright jungle green.

While the palette generator captured a lot of the background (I don’t see that pinky brown anywhere on the model), this palette is a “be-still-my-heart” series of shades for me as I love aqua blue. But it’s a new take on that–a refreshing deeper shade.

Now to shift gears from haute couture to the nuts and bolts of my life lately:

How about some velcro bolts? This is the boot they gave me to wear while my ankle heals. I hate it for a variety of good and not-so-good reasons (would it kill them to add some color?). The doctor okayed my getting around the house without it, so I’ve just decided to ace-bandage-wrap my ankle for protection, stay off it, and stay home. What’s four more weeks of pandemic quarantine?

Very proud of this: I drew the spools up by hand. Well, digital hand. Yes, it’s in my favorite color (aqua blue). I have found lately that getting the hang of a few tools in my Affinity Designer has opened up new worlds for me in terms of satisfaction with my work; it was a bit of a struggle at first, but a bit smoother sailing now. And why did I make these?

Pattern Shop Refresh!

I didn’t like the nuts-and-boltsy (notice how I’m stretching the metaphor) look of BEFORE as it was too chunky and disparate. I also wanted something as well that would indicate degree of difficulty at a glance. So, I made spools. And I like how the shop looks now.

This is the new display pattern front. I still have a few things left to do, but have finished most. PayHip upgraded some of their marketplace tools, so I thought it was a good time for me to fuss around a bit, too.

Quilting SeaDepths (a variation of Azulejos) in spurts, while listening to this:

I like how the themes overlap: the ocean in Harper’s book with the theme of SeaDepths on my newest quilt. I can hardly wait to go upstairs and quilt. I’ve listened to two of her others: The Dry and The Lost Man and loved both of those. I will reserve my review on this until I finish it (5 more hours). While I listen, I think of Susan of PatchNPlay, and her trip to Tasmania. I can’t wait to show off the backing I chose for this quilt.

Lastly, there seems to something in the zeitgeist here, but truth! Patti chose this without knowing all the other watery connections I’ve just mentioned. If you jump on this link, you can see a lot of the blocks she’s received, all laid out together. I love how nice they all play together.

And that’s it for today. Happy July, Happy Not Wearing My Boot, and Happy Quilting!

6 thoughts on “Color, Venice and Valentino • This and That July 2021

  1. I’m reading The Survivor by Jane Harper. It’s ominous but I don’t think I’m as engaged as with her other books. I also don’t get a sense of place as much. How about you?

    I’ve just read a good book by Tana French. I think you might like her too.

    And thanks for the tip about Affinity Designer. What a bargain! Such a powerful tool.

  2. So glad Susan turned me on to Jane Harper! Love seeing those color combinations. I think I’m bad at combining colors so I love seeing new palettes!

  3. Thanks for all the clothes and colour palettes- we can pretend to need fancy clothes at least! I agree with another comment about Jane Harper failing to convey a true sense of place in The Survivors-and I didn’t enjoy it nearly as much as her other offerings. Even the cover looks like England, not Australia. I love the little spools of thread you’ve designed! You are a technical wizz!

  4. I’m so glad you said you didn’t understand that quote about fashion. I thought maybe I should reread it but instead chose to go on and your very next words mad me smile. If you didn’t understand it then I didn’t feel so bad. I sure loved seeing all the color combos in the fashion photos though. Nothing beats good color. You pattern redos look great. I’ve been dabbling a bit with Affinity since buying it after your blog post shared the sale. So far I’ve created a couple of pieces for the upcoming baby shower. There’s still a lot of functions I haven’t figured. Some just aren’t intuitive based on my Illustrator knowledge. One of these days I’ll make time to review some videos. Any suggestions on where to find basic graphic lessons that aren’t directed toward illustration. Obviously I’m interested in basic graphics as opposed to creating 3D illustrations. I read The Survivors a few weeks ago. I like her books but had a hard time getting into this one.

  5. For somebody who’s “down with” a broken ankle you certainly have been busy! I loved the fashion shots and am so thankful I can just wear L. L. Bean and not take fashion seriously 😀

  6. I love the color combinations in those fashions. Especially the deep coral gloves with the orchid dress. I just bought your Azulejos pattern; it might get me back to quilting! Hope your foot will heal quickly.

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