American Craft Council Favorites, 1

26 Feb

My hands-down favorite clothing vendor at the ACC show was Teresa Maria Widuch.

Widuch makes jackets in wool felt and ultrasuede: simple, sculptural jackets with crisply cut raw edges of fabric stiff enough to stand up like paper. Indeed, at first glance one might have thought the booth held paper cut-outs  of clothing. The colors were pure and vivid: fuchsia and citron, smooth, even colors that let the shapes stand out  and highlighted the three-dimensional forms by emphasizing the cast shadows across the surfaces.

 


They look, at first glance, deceptively simple: a raglan sleeve here, a rounded collar there. But this is yet another instance where a “simple” look comes from a myriad of perfect details, all lined up to deceive the eye into reading the whole, “simplicity”, rather than each of the details on their own.

 


I’ve never seen anything like these.  I’ve never seen anything constructed quite like them, either–the pieces are put together like sculpture, not like clothing. And there are no two alike. I don’t know how many I looked at (nearly every one there, I think) and each one offered a slightly different shape or variation from all the others. Some (like the red example, above) had an inner part that serves like a vest, under the opened petals of lapels. Many had asymmetrical collar lapels, wrapping differently on the left than on the right.  Some had decorative design details cut out, some had toggles or closures and others just fall open smoothly. All of them are based on traditional jacket forms–blazer, kimono, cape, etc., but none is quite straightforward. This is a great example of how, crafty and clever as I might think I could be, I know that I could not duplicate this effect in my own workroom, for any amount of trying, at least not without spending far more for materials and effort than the finished jackets themselves cost. (You see, I’ve tried ultrasuede!) And I think it’s because I sew, myself, that I appreciate this all the more.  Because I know where the seams usually go, on a blazer or jacket, that I notice how the traditional seams are moved or missing, and  all the different variations Widuch has made to design a garment that looks like and yet nothing like what we expect from a jacket.

There’s something almost existential about these that I love. They’re sculptures: art pieces that comment on the “essence of jackets”, perhaps. Sculptures about clothing that double as actual, wearable clothing.  And they’re quite chic when worn, as well: they have their own dimensionality and stand out and away from the body, and yet their  shapes are as conscious of the shapes of human bodies that fill jackets as they are about jackets, and thanks to carefully angled darts and seams they look quite gracious when modeled.

One day, perhaps, when I return to buying clothing that other people have made, I may find that it takes something this dramatic, this chic to make it worth my while to go shopping. And wouldn’t this be a handsome acquisition, to a handmade wardrobe?

 

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6 Responses to “American Craft Council Favorites, 1”

  1. Another Vegan February 26, 2012 at 12:53 am #

    Very nice! Were you able to see any of them worn? I wonder if they are as beautiful on or would look too stiff. The gray jacket seems to be an exception as it looks cozy and comfy.

    • handmadejulie February 26, 2012 at 1:02 am #

      Yes! My companion and I both tried them on. It was not stiff, to wear.

      Also, looking in the mirror revealed another dichotomy. They’re subtle enough, once off the clothes hanger and onto a body, to advance and recede in one’s attention: “woman wearing brightly colored jacket” at first glance, and then “wow, what a jacket!” when you looked again.

      I think, if/when I ever buy one, the hardest part will be deciding which one. Because each one is unique, it’s hard to decide which detail–collar, sleeve shape, length, etc–is “my favorite”.

      • Another Vegan February 26, 2012 at 1:11 am #

        They are beautiful and even better that they were created to be worn. The orange and gray are my fav!

  2. Catherine Daze February 26, 2012 at 4:13 am #

    They’re beautiful! I think I like the grey one best.

  3. ataylorsews February 28, 2012 at 9:28 pm #

    I have three words to say: Awesome! Awesome! Awesome! Love this kind of style. Thanks.

  4. Marci Gallagher March 4, 2015 at 8:25 pm #

    This is so amazing!!!! So awesome!!!. Do you sell patterns? Just incredible!!!! Love them!!!!

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