March 4, 2010
fashion blog karma – Queen Gilda
As often happens in fashion blog land, some of my favourite bloggers discover me. When Gilda of Queen Gilda commented on my site and my drawings, I followed the link back and discovered an awesome fashion student blog, candid and enthusiastic, full of feeling and colour. I even had the opportunity to meet her when I went to NYC and she gave me a short clandestine tour of Parsons, where she goes to school. Gilda, like all fashion students, is super busy with her school work so her posts are infrequent – but when she does post, its well worth the wait – her posts are long and full of stories and pictures, honesty and humour.
I asked her about her projects, her school, and her favourite fashion inspirations.
You just finished an amazing project for LVMH, can you tell me a bit about the design and construction process of it?
this project was basically a collaboration with LVMH and parsons, called “the art of craftsmanship revisited: new york”. it was a group project where students of different disciplines within the new school university can take part in. the project is two-fold: we have to create a 5 minute mini-documentary based on the artisan we were assigned to, and we also had to draw inspiration from their craft to create an ensemble.
the artists we were assigned to were metal artists from a french company called les metalliers champenois. we went to visit their shoppe a few times and were so blown away. “amazing” really isn’t a way to put it. because we had to bear in mind that the garment had to reflect our artist, it was a lot more difficult than just sitting down and designing something as we were used to.
more than anything, what really inspired us when we were at LMC was their work ethics and the way they thought and went through their work process. we wanted to make sure we respected this and so we tried to put ourselves into their shoes and become fashion designers who could inject our own sense of aesthetic to the work, but also employ their thinking and mindset to the garments.
the resulting ensemble was a half-jacket, that represents strength and “protects” the most important thing to any artist – their arms and hands. in particular the “stronger” arm that they work with. under it was a very fitted dress with only 1 straight seam; the rest were all curved. it was a reflection of the movements the artists took as captured in our videos. we also included ideas that spoke about the amazing latticework that they do inside of statues and restoration work that they do.
lastly, on top of the dress is a delicate 3-tiered cowled piece which is made of 2 layers of light chiffon fused together. it is a direct homage to the amazing repousse work that LMC does.
construction was a huge craze. i did the patterns for the dress and the dart manipulations took me a day and a half of mathematical calculations to get right. i’m glad i took my time with it because there wasn’t any major fit issues. phew!! we draped the jacket and cowls together. cowls seem so easy but it also took us about 3 days to finally get the exact shape that all 3 of us were happy with!
What is the Parsons fashion design program like? The best part, the worst part? Would you recommend it?
i know i sound so biased about this topic. it’s hard to talk about it because i had attended another world-class fashion college before parsons, bunka fashion college in tokyo, so after coming here from there, i think i was very angry as i felt i was wasting my parents’ hard-earned money and giving myself a lot of unnecessary stress. the best part are the teachers. some of them, not all. i have been lucky to have been blessed with a handful of extremely talented and really nice teachers whom i have learned a lot from. the worst part is the school itself. i would rather pay my teachers $40,000 a year and just learn from their studios. in other words, even if i could come back to this school for free, i would not. i had to say i am biased also because i have already received my basic education in sewing and design before coming to parsons, so the comparison makes me sick to my bones and sometimes i feel like i haven’t learned anything new. in america though, it is supposed to be the best school available. perhaps it is? i really don’t know.
What inspired you to choose the life of a fashion designer? Is your experience so far anything like what you expected?
i’ve always loved fashion, although when i was probably 15 i thought i was really cool and stuff, but looking back at pictures i would love to slap myself. i’d always devoured magazines and went shopping all the time. by myself, especially. shopping alone is best for me. (ha!) when i was about 15 or 16 i started remaking a lot of my clothes; i had no idea how to use a sewing machine so everything was done by hand with a thread and needle. i tore up so many tshirts and sewed some together, made new shapes etc. i also made accessories. and i had so much fun. i never gave it much thought until i was about 17 when i had to think about what was going to happen to me after high school. that was when i set my hearts on doing something in fashion, and i never really looked back.
the experience has been amazing and fulfilling. it is a lot of work. a lot more work than 90% of the people think it is. sometimes i watch those reality shows of people who think they are “fashion designers” but really they are just rich b*tches with silver spoons in their mouths, who have no sense of personal style and think they are amazing. i could line them all up and shoot them, really. they give fashion a bad name. nothing is glamourous, everything is work, nonstop, all the time. being able to create something from 2D on paper and fabric, into something in 3D that is going to be worn by someone… the work in between takes a long time, and yet, the sense of fulfillment of seeing a finished garment is just something that cannot be explained. i imagined this is how it must feel to have a child when it finally pops out of the belly. heh.
to some people, fashion is nonsense. ridiculous. it is just clothes. and in many ways, that is true. it doesn’t matter what sort of collection a designer puts out there every season; in the end, it’s just clothes. when i tell people i am a fashion designer, sometimes i get scoffed at for having such a trivial occupation. so i tell them that fashion is part of their lives, everyone needs it even if they refuse to think so. they need to eat. sleep. be protected by the elements under a roof, and to do so they also need clothes. i’d like to see them run their lives while in the nude.
What fashion professionals do you admire? How have they influenced you?
my biggest influences are rei kawakubo, junya watanabe and tao from comme des garcons, as well as jun takahashi from undercover, takahiro miyashita from number (n)ine. i love japanese designers. they design in a very different way as compared to american or italian designers. i love the avant garde look, the undone, asymmetry look… basically i want to be adopted by them. please.
Can you describe your proudest fashion moment?
the biggest one so far would definitely have to be my recent participation in the LVMH x parsons event. the launch was during nyfw at milk studios. we were right there having a show after proenza schouler. i mean, to be still a student and to have this opportunity to show some of my work during an event like nyfw, that is not some chance that hops around at every corner of the street. meeting so many people from the industry and having people compliment us on our ensemble was just a feeling i hope i never forget. it really spurred me on to thinking more about business plans and how i can one day, on my own two feet, return to fashion week. new york? tokyo? somewhere, one day.