Thursday, January 29, 2009


i'm obsessed with this silhouette for spring. i love the idea of my body enveloped in a diaphanous cocoon which drapes around me and moves as i do. i don't know when this love affair started, though looking through my old collection of paper dolls i have a pretty good idea.

paper dolls were my toy of choice growing up (i'll have to show some of my collection one day). i was one of those obsessive, perfectionist kids who didn't mind being alone and who liked a lot of options so paper dolls were a good fit. they allowed me to play with 'grown-up' figures and a lot of elaborate costumes which wouldn't have translated to real dolls. besides the ones i made myself, some of my favorites were these erte fashion plates:

and a set of belle epoque styles:
both featured various forms the 'cocoon' shape i love.

though this 'volume at the hip, narrow at hem' skirt shape has belonged to many cultures and eras of fashion it is the europe circa WWI version from which my obsession stems.

shortly after the turn of the century, parisian couturier paul poiret started to change the silhouettes of womens' fashion. credited with inventing the sheath and the sack dress, he enticed fabric to fall and drape more naturally around the body resulting in simple and comfortable garments which drew fashion rebels to him (thanks textile history class!) poiret found inspiration in the costumes of the ballet russe and the romantic orientalism in vogue at the time.

he also championed dress trousers or narrow skirts to be worn under wide 'minaret' or 'lampshade' tunics as well as harem pants, two styles which are wildly popular again today. it's obvious he drew on many cultures and locales to create his unique garments.

when i was designing our spring collection for nokomis i wanted to focus on my own environment, locale and natural surroundings, along with my love of vintage fashion, to inform the shapes, fabrics and colours of the pieces.

thus our cocoon-like 'thistle' dress came to be. modeled by tara during our photoshoot last july, it's a perfect dress in which to butterfly into spring.


abby said...

that "thistle" dress is captivating!

Bree said...

So nice to hear your process behind the clothes - I love that first Erte paper doll!