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Friday, August 27, 2010

Couture Fashion Summer Camp on Grand Fashion Runway

The group of girls came into camp to give their personal fashion sense a lesson in Haute Couture. Every day of the camp, each artist was being challenged in her own way to think outside of her fashion box. Surrounding them, the walls, rooms, and tables spoke openly of the discoveries of other students, present and past. Discoveries that had resulted in art and nature inspired fashion collages, hand-embellished textiles, sketches of concept collections. This was an environment ripe for breakthrough.

Each student spent time to study under their well-trained instructors, learning the fine art of fashion and pattern. Watchfully cutting and measuring to Haute Couture standards, training their eyes to acutely observe images from the minds of the masters, and disciplining their instruments to sketch fashion figures the proportional and naturally elegant French way. Also, the students felt their ideas and expressions come to life with the use of European color theory, in addition to American, providing them with an entirely new and innovative color palette!

The progress that each girl felt as she watched her skills and design concepts become more refined and matured just added to the spirit. Every girl watched and invested in each other’s progress, getting excited and encouraged to encounter their newfound abilities in fashion. Excitement that built with each new fashion sketch, each experiment with color, each hand-measured muslin skirt, each carefully chosen final fabric…All leading to the height of the Summer Couture Camp achievements- the Red Carpet!

The girls were a burst of exhilaration, modeling their handcrafted skirts in front of the long ornate mirrors, teasing and primping their hair to decide the ultimate impression, tossing questions over their shoulders to others for their insider opinions.

Almost the moment. All feverishly lined up and waiting, smoothing their skirts, listening for their music cue. Then it’s time.

Music compels as each girl strides down the runway, pride in her eyes while she shows off her perfectly fitting, personally hand-made skirt to the eager onlookers. Everyone is thrilled to be experiencing this satisfying unveiling of the month-long program’s culmination.

A job well done (and exciting!), all the girls agree at the end, surrounded by admiring family and friends. When asked what they learned about fashion that was fresh and brand new, they beamed, and each answered with her own enlightenment. From the importance of knowing American and European techniques, to learning how to make their own patterns as well as concept sketches, to the value of piecing a garment together from scratch, to learning how to make garments that fit perfectly and capture a vision. Parental feedback was also revealing, one mother noting that during their last shopping trip, her daughter had immediately assessed a garment to find if it had a luxury finish (it did not). And another mother thoughtfully describing her daughter’s “evolution and refinement of taste” visible in her fashion sketches and still life drawings, as well as her garment design and construction.

Testimony after testimony reveals young artists flourishing under instruction at Academy of Couture Art, the only fashion design school in the U.S. teaching the height of fashion technique, Haute Couture.