Sylvani – Lookbook

Here they are, in all their glory! I don’t want to say much, just a big thank you to everyone involved – these photos mean so much to me, I can’t even describe it! I had a hard time picking my favourites: I ended up narrowing them down to these 15, but there are so many more! Well, maybe another time…. We also had a second shoot the next day, at a completely different location with (obviously) a very different result. I’m sure I’ll post them here one day as well. For now, enjoy!

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Coming Very Soon

I’m so excited to finally be able to share the photos from the lookbook-shoot of my graduation collection! I’m super happy with how they turned out, I’ll upload the whole lookbook in the next week or so, stay tuned! For now, a little teaser:

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Moss Embroidery

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I have some sneak peeks from my costume for you today! I have time until Christmas break to finish it and even though there is still so much to do, I’m starting to see the end of it – I actually think it will be finished earlier. But so much time went into it already…. I spent three days dyeing and bleaching fabrics for the skirt alone! But the end is in sight, I ‘just’ need to assemble the corset – after I’ve finished embroidering the outer layer.

The inspiration behind the embroidery is moss and lichen growing on trees and rocks and I tried my best to get similar structures and textures. I used up to seven colours of embroidery floss, ranging from green and blue to brown and a burnt orange. I also incooperated three different kinds of glass beads, two matte, one shiny. The base fabric is a silk dupioni which I dyed into a blue-green – it also got this crashed look in the process, which is a perfect backdrop for the moss embroidery.

This isn’t really a tutorial, just a couple of progress pictures. Also, there really is no right or wrong way to do this, I just go with the flow and do whatever feels right. I’m basically making up the design as I go along and there is no way I could recreate it to 100% ever again. It’s random and organic and that’s why I love it so much. Also, please ignore that the colour of the fabric changes – the light went from bad to worse during the process and my camera needs to be replaced. The most accurate colour is probably in the second picture, in case you’re wondering.

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There is still a lot of work to do, but I think it will look great in the end… Let’s hope it’s going to be worth all the cramps in fingers and shoulders!

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Favourite

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Homework has never been so much fun: I spent the afternoons of this week dyeing strips of fabric, all for my costume-project. I’ll use these swatches for the skirt – it’s going to be all patched together into three big strips, which will then be gathered… I want the skirt to be patterend and colourful, but all toned-down and in a certain colour palette: greens and grey with a bit of blue and turquoise, very muted and slightly murky. I started with 6 different main fabrics for the two main parts of the skirt (the third strip will be slightly different, the individual pieces will be horizontal and there will be no gathering.) and then cut them all up to a certain length and varying widths. And then the fun began… Very happy with the results!

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Costume Heaven

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It’s always been my dream to visit the fundus of Art4Art – the ateliers that make all the costumes (and everything else related to them – corsets, shoes, hats, jewellery) for the Austrian Federal Theaters (read more about them here.) I always imagined it as some kind of gigantic wardrobe, filled to the top with the most beautiful clothes from every epoc. Let me tell you: That’s exactly what it is. But there is so much more to discover!

I had about 2 hours to browse and after just half of the time, I was already exhausted and couldn’t really digest anything anymore. Hundreds, no, thousands of clothes are kept in the fundus: dresses from the middle ages to the present, undergarments (petticoats, crinolines, corsages, camisoles), shoes in boxes underneath the costumes, cupboards filled with hats and all different kinds of headdresses.

They had wonderful 40ies inspired frocks, in beautiful rayons (I would like to know from where they got all their patterned fabrics – there were some really special prints!), servant’s dresses from the turn of the century, huge Biedermeier dresses (you’d probably say victorian), and all the way back to fluid, plisseed grecian robes. The physically oldest costumes they had were from the 50ies – silk kimonos from Madame Butterfly (see below – the red tulips on blue and white palms on light grey). Older ones are already in the archives of the theater museum, as they don’t get used anymore, unlike the rest of the stock.

Menswear is mostly militarian garments, with tons of different uniforms. Also, crazy renaissance jackets with insane details (frills! pleats! slitted! embroidered!) and many justaucorps with beautiful soutache decoration on cuffs and pocket flaps. You can probably tell, I went a little crazy in there….

My favourite part were probably all the fabrics. Printed or woven, they were so elaborate, detailed… Really special. All the different prints/patterns, right next to each other, looked amazing from afar – but even better in close-up. Embellishment is often faked (glued rather than sewn on, for example), but the fabrics are mostly ‘genuine’. Or treated in such a way that a simple cotton weave looks like the most expensive jaquard. A lot of knowledge and secrets go into these fabrics, something I’d like to learn and experiment with myself.

I took so many pictures, because I wanted to remmber everything – and I didn’t even see it all. I could literally spend weeks in there, looking at the intricate details, the insides of the costumes (especially those!) and photograph and sketch it all – I could fill at least one thick sketchbook just with costume studies from the Art4Art fundus. Didn’t have the time to do that, though! I’m sharing the best pictures with you today – lighting was not great, but I think you’ll still understand my fascination with this place!

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September

This September, I…

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  • participated in the #sewphotop
  • started my last year on this school, finally with the focus on costume design
  • celebrated my brother’s 5th wedding anniversary
  • started blogilates and so far, it’s been great and I’m super motivated
  • enrolled in an italian course (finally! Can’t wait to learn this language)
  • re-decorated my room a bit
  • made the decision to study stage design next year (working on my portfolio now)
  • finalized my design for the costume I’ll make in school
  • tried cannoli and I’m in love
  • got some cotton+steel fabric at an amazing discount

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We started working on historical undergarments this week – crinolines and underskirts. I really can’t wait to learn more about corset-construction as well! Right now we are selecting our themes for the costumes we will make: The general theme is ‘My Castle’ and we formed small groups with individual interpretations. Currently hunting for inspiration, more to come soon!

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