Saturday, November 10, 2012

Textile Friday: Deconstructing A Master, Viktor Luna

               This past week, I sprang for a luxury in the midst of all the seasonal chaos. The up and downside to being sold out. One of my favorite designers I love to follow had a sample sale, Viktor Luna. Sample sales are great because they let you peek inside the mind of designer before the piece is so polished by production that it's almost impossible to see the individual flavor behind it. If you've never met Viktor Luna before, I encourage you to go over to his homepage. You'll see him smiling in all his photos and his clothes have this matching happy sunny vibe. I wanted to see what that happy smile translated like into fabric. Just look at this gold military inspired shirt from two seasons ago. The color and fabric were crazy, but the tailoring and construction were beautiful. I took tons of photos with notes here.
            Dress shirts are a fairly standard item so I doubt there's any chance of someone ripping Viktor's design from the photos, but as always, please respect other designers' work. Mostly, shirts are an item that requires a lot of skill to pull off so I feel seeing one allows you to get a measure of a designer's ability without threatening their overall collection and ascetics.
            First off, after the shirt arrived, I took it out of the package and hung it on one of the mannequins. The fabric was much heavier than typical shirt weight I was used to which had to be a mess to sew, but I was impressed at how Viktor pulled it all together. Everything was folded and french seamed which seemed like total overkill, but who am I to pick on another designer's attention to detail? I was especially taken with the little details like his button placement (flawless) and buttonholes which are much harder to do than they appear at first glance. You can see the shirt unbuttoned here inside out is still as flawlessly finished as the reverse side. The bottom button on my form pulled slightly, but I think my form is a size bigger than his so the hips are probably pulling it, not a flaw in his sewing.
      Also, the darts were great.  Perfect at the bust and back. In general, I only found one pull out line in sewing to construct this entire piece on the left cuff. I like seeing that confidence in sewing.
       Which leads me to the two major areas for improvement in the piece which were really the opposite sides of the same coin. Samples are never perfect, that's the nature of the beast. It's an opportunity to see one's thoughts in thread before sending the final piece into shops. There was unusual fabric and thread construction which hurt the overall quality and ruined the level of construction in the piece. The fabric was heavier than typical for a dress shirt which made it harder than necessary to sew for the designer and poor draping overall. It also contributed to overall flaws within the piece. You can see him struggling to make it work (and he has great sewing skills) in the thread tension. The needle kept skipping from under tension on the top and sometimes his folds at the cuffs and collars didn't even up quite right. This probably could have been fixed by better thread and a different needle, but samples are where you learn for next time. Overall, very pleased and enjoyed looking at this lovely shirt. Thank you Viktor. Best of luck on your travels! I'm sure you'll do well.

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