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Tailoring aesthetics : does perfection kills the coat ?


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#37 greger

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Posted 20 January 2011 - 03:00 PM

Coats don't have soles - whether of leather or any other variety. His shoes have soles, though.

If it's soul however, the thing that gives Will's suit more of that is the fact that you can see his face and that he is smiling, so that the charm of his personality comes through better. Plus the colour of Will's suit adds more warmth than the steely grey of Vox's suit (by DeBoise).

None of this does anything to convince me to deliberately put messy horizontal drags in a coat to give it a good leather "sole" - or even a "soul".


You remind of children that go out to the wood shed for a change of attitude. To bad your parents didn't care enough to show you the magic of wood shed.attitude changing.

You refuse to learn, so a waste of time to think about it.

#38 Suited

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Posted 20 January 2011 - 03:27 PM

Thank you Nishjin for posting such an insightful view It brought to light many questions I had as well. From the point of a RTW designer I have to say that a certain amount of crafted imperfections are things that help to create style and personality. I believe when a customer purchases a "high value" piece of clothing they want to be able to connect to its heritage and a garment that is "perfect" can lack that characteristic. I completely support the idea of learning the basics, however, if one does not slowly add there own personality to the workmanship there is the danger that the craft comes to determine the value of the person rather than the person determining the value of the craft.

#39 Noble Savage

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Posted 20 January 2011 - 04:00 PM

The concept of wabi/sabi came to Japan with Zen (Chan) Buddhism, which itself is involved in the questioning of the reality of the world for the purpose of the contemplation of the internal, eternal, and so forth. You aren't supposed to see the horribly made piece of pottery. You are supposed to see the imperfection of the universe. So, it becomes all right to make a piece of ugly unfinished pottery, because this serves a higher purpose. Be that as it may, somehow this aesthetic didn't greatly transform the dress of ordinary people in Japan.

Edited by Noble Savage, 20 January 2011 - 04:40 PM.


#40 greger

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Posted 20 January 2011 - 04:00 PM

Suited, you bring up some other thoughts. Picasso was certainly an artist. His childhood paintings prove it. But did his thinking ever get so complicated that it got outside of art (a theory that has a hole in it) and he painted it thinking it is art? Some of his paintings I wonder about.

There are some of Mahon coats I don't think of as art. There is accountable slop and unaccountable slop. One is art (or can be) and one is not. Or, we could say that some have art in it, but also non-art, which would mar the garment.

#41 jukes

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Posted 20 January 2011 - 04:31 PM

You don't need anyone's system to impart a bit of character to a draft, that should come from the person drafting the pattern. Sticking rigidly to a drafting system will produce the same boring garments.

#42 greger

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Posted 20 January 2011 - 04:55 PM

Nobel Savage (your name, are you sure that is possible?),

The East and West explanation explains a lot. It interesting thinking about the two different concepts of art. Today I went past a totem pole. I love that kind of art.

#43 Sator

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Posted 20 January 2011 - 05:06 PM

You don't need anyone's system to impart a bit of character to a draft, that should come from the person drafting the pattern. Sticking rigidly to a drafting system will produce the same boring garments.


Couldn't agree more. The default settings of your system are a broad canvas upon which you can express yourself stylistically. A good system merely provides a solid technical foundation upon which to build.

By the way, the group photo from the 1960s that was dismissed as being boring was a picture of the winners from a tailoring competition. Competitions tend to discourage stylistic flair (tends to split judges) and often encourage technically immaculate orthodoxy (easier for groups of judges to come to a collective decision). That said, there is a place for a garment that is stylistically totally neutral, austere to the point of unmitigating dullness, but excelling stealthily only by means of it's understated perfection of fit (something as rare as hen's teeth). These tend to be more wearable in a professional environment because they don't attract too much attention to themselves. Sometimes you don't want your clothes to have a stand out dandy factor to them. In fact, wasn't this stealth inverted-dandyism what Beau Brummell was all about???

#44 jukes

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Posted 20 January 2011 - 05:42 PM

Couldn't agree more. The default settings of your system are a broad canvas upon which you can express yourself stylistically. A good system merely provides a solid technical foundation upon which to build.

By the way, the group photo from the 1960s that was dismissed as being boring was a pictures of the winners of a tailoring competition. Competitions tend to discourage stylistic flair (tends to split judges) and often encourage technically immaculate orthodoxy (easier for groups of judges to come to a collective decision). That said, there is a place for a garment that is stylistically totally neutral, austere to the point of unmitigating dullness, but excelling stealthily only by means of it's understated perfection of fit. These tend to be more wearable in a professional environment because they don't attract too much attention to themselves. Sometimes you don't want your clothes to have a stand out dandy factor to them. In fact, wasn't this stealth dandyism what Beau Brummell was all about???



The problem with a competition with rules that dictate gorge, pocket, button position etc is that all the garments look the same, which excludes the "flair" tailors. Saville Row also used to have a competition, which i believe is called the "golden Shears" which did not have such restrictions, and ok there were entries that made you cringe, but then again there were some that made you "think outside the box" and raise your eyebrows.
Who would you say is the "Tommy Nutter" of German tailoring??

#45 Nishijin

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Posted 20 January 2011 - 06:08 PM

Thank you Nishjin for posting such an insightful view It brought to light many questions I had as well. From the point of a RTW designer I have to say that a certain amount of crafted imperfections are things that help to create style and personality. I believe when a customer purchases a "high value" piece of clothing they want to be able to connect to its heritage and a garment that is "perfect" can lack that characteristic. I completely support the idea of learning the basics, however, if one does not slowly add there own personality to the workmanship there is the danger that the craft comes to determine the value of the person rather than the person determining the value of the craft.



I won't go so far as to say that there need to be falty cutting or making to connect a garment to its heritage. I've been told the Italians have designed machines that make irregular stitching to mimick the hand sewing. This is wrong.

I've seen many (and have some at home) pieces of pottery that are full of imperfection and have no soul. Giving a soul to an object is the prrof of a true master. Sometimes, it is not the making itself, but what happened after, so Sator is right to say that patina gives this. Good quality pinked garments are full of character.

Information about the rules of competition explains a lot. I was not aware of this. Now I understand this, I think those competitions completely miss an essential part of the job. I've seen the same in a French competition, where a tailor I know had his coat dismissed because it had a barchetta pocket, and the parisian judges thaught that a pocket should be straight, and that barchetta is sloppy and not good craftmanship. This kind of things always make me think of the Art exhibitions of the XIXth century which rejected Impressionists as being decadent and not art.
But it's true too that what is missed is very difficult to judge. Maybe it's too subjective, I don't know. Maybe it would take a Zen master to be judge for those things.


I think Greger put his finger on something important : some coats "try too hard".



I'm also understanding that the aesthetics that I'm looking for is not for everybody. There are many ways to feel the world. There are many way to make art. Monet and Mondrian both made valuable art. Impressionism, cubism or pop art did not made Rembrandt less good. There are many forms of aesthetics. There are many forms of art that some people seem to find appealing, and that leave me completely cool, I don't feel a thing.
http://www.paulgrassart.com

Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.
Mark Twain

#46 Sator

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Posted 20 January 2011 - 06:35 PM

Thank you Nishjin for posting such an insightful view It brought to light many questions I had as well. From the point of a RTW designer I have to say that a certain amount of crafted imperfections are things that help to create style and personality.


Excellent point!!! Nowhere is the art of passing off misfits as "artful accidents" more highly developed than on the catwalk. This one even has the same diagonal drags as the coat Mr Mahon made for Will:

Posted Image

You can argue that such beautiful imperfections make this a higher art than any superfluous perfection in bespoke garment making. :Big Grin: :poke:

#47 greger

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Posted 20 January 2011 - 06:41 PM

A belief in God means He created some people to like what I can't and they can't like everything I like. When it comes to art I like to know something about the rules, and then determine if it is art.

Patina- give me some acid to clean it off.

#48 Nishijin

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Posted 20 January 2011 - 06:50 PM

Off topic :

I find it fascinating that on a 2010 ed. Rundschau, there are sewing instruction for the Lutherrock/Soutanelle. I wonder if any tailor is asked something like that these days in France. I've been told by "big names" that they have never been, and they think it's a job for a specialist.



On topic : this coat looks very wrong. A good example that flaws do not make personnality. It's more subtle than that.


In French, we have an expression that comes from tailoring. When you have for example a weak file, an you want to add "filling" to make it look bigger, we say that it needs to be "étoffé". Litterally, it means "to add cloth to it". Of course, this is traditional way of the tailor to cut a bigger chest to give some shape to a man who needs it. When done well, it is effective. I understand that it was the original intention of the drape cut : to give the apparence of a captain of the Guard. He, we see that a lot of cloth is added, but the guy still look like a stick. Maybe even look stickier indeed.
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#49 Sator

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Posted 20 January 2011 - 06:53 PM

The problem with a competition with rules that dictate gorge, pocket, button position etc is that all the garments look the same, which excludes the "flair" tailors. Saville Row also used to have a competition, which i believe is called the "golden Shears" which did not have such restrictions, and ok there were entries that made you cringe, but then again there were some that made you "think outside the box" and raise your eyebrows.


This one I showed a page back is a Golden Shears award winner IIRC:

Posted Image

Who would you say is the "Tommy Nutter" of German tailoring??


In the German speaking world, I believe it is classically the Austrians, especially the Viennese, who were famed for cutting with imaginative flair:

Posted Image

Posted Image

#50 greger

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Posted 20 January 2011 - 07:19 PM

It is nice to see something different instead of the same old same old boring unchallenging coats. I don't understand why people today are so afraid to do something unique. They deprive themselves for standing out. And some of their heroes did the exact opposite of what they claimed- they stood out! I remember the days when people went to the tailors just to have something different. Clothing was a competition. People were having fun. Somebody should start a forum for the reasons why people enjoyed going to the tailors in the past. There are already two forums that push the boring clothing. The internet needs some tailoring forums (for customers) for the people who aren't the walking dead.

#51 Lewis Davies

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Posted 20 January 2011 - 08:51 PM

why the hell did his waistcoat have a seam down the middle :( urgh

#52 Sator

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Posted 20 January 2011 - 09:31 PM

why the hell did his waistcoat have a seam down the middle :( urgh


It's an old fashioned way of cutting a waistcoat:

Posted Image

The seam does help give it shape.

There used to be a time when coat lapels were cut on like this too:

Posted Image

#53 Schneidergott

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Posted 21 January 2011 - 02:43 AM

I find it fascinating that on a 2010 ed. Rundschau, there are sewing instruction for the Lutherrock/Soutanelle. I wonder if any tailor is asked something like that these days in France. I've been told by "big names" that they have never been, and they think it's a job for a specialist.


The Lutherrock would be made by a tailor specialising in clerical garments (in Germany you'll find a few tailors in the southern states doing only that. This is the same in Italy).

While I can follow the idea of making an artists view of things (or the world/ universe) visible in his/ her creations, I doubt that this concept can be transported into tailoring.

Being able to produce a garment that fits and not doing so is strange, to say the least.

It's like knowing how to build a rocket that can fly to Mars and then build in flaws on purpose that make it crash at the launch! :spiteful: (Unless you want a few more years of government funding)!

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#54 Noble Savage

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Posted 21 January 2011 - 03:10 AM

The dichotomy of the relationship between the internal and external has been troubling Western philosophers for some time.

In other cultures, however, this is not so. People are expected to dress the part, because, as some Japanese put it, you become perfect by doing things exactly the way they are meant to be done, as if the external affects the internal in due course by itself. This is seen as insufficient in the West, and doubted. Because of this, Europeans often question perfection in dress.

If you look the part and act the part, you aren't authentic in Western culture, you are merely a poser, a wanna-be, trying-too-hard, etc., unless you also have the soul, the real, internal features, the je ne sais quoi... whereas in other cultures a faithful imitation to the point of perfection in details would be taken as a mark of careful and serious study of an authentic and valuable source, and would be a mark of having inherited, through this perfection, a part of the spirit of that being studied.

Witness the difference between Chinese art and Western art. In the West, only the original is valued as having the spirit of the painter. In China, a perfect replication of a masterpiece is seen as possessing the value of the masterpiece itself, and many famous traditional renderings of classical Chinese art, are in fact, replicas of the original made by later students.

In Japan, an antique or used item may be seen as polluted by fact of its use by other people: a fresh, correct, new copy, may be more valuable.

In one mode, the form conveys meaning and value. Hence clothing perfection becomes so important in Asia: there are more of any one brand fashion shops in the city of Tokyo of many brands than in all of Europe.

In the other mode, clothing has become questionable, authenticity or authority is no longer derived form the external, and the replication of past perfection in the external mode becomes superfluous.




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