Fine Arts Inspiration Ties Addie Cheges to Design Muse Elsa Schiaparelli

March 22nd, 2011 by Lacey Luce
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Addie Cheges

Addie Cheges likes to take a fine arts approach to fashion design; a trait she shares with her Masters of Design muse Elsa Schiaparelli.

Schiaparelli opened her first shop in Paris in the mid 1920s and retired from fashion design in the mid 1950s. During her reign as a designer she earned a reputation for bringing the extraordinary and unusual to fashion.

Influenced by futurists, cubists, New York Dadaism, Parisian surrealists, and art deco, Schiaparelli was well known for collaborating with contemporary artists such as Salvador Dali, Jean Cocteau, and Christian Bérard. Some of her most famous looks came about through collaborations with Dali, including the lobster dress, the skeleton dress and the shoe hat.

Elsa Schiaparelli's Skeleton Dress

“Her collaborations with fine artists like Salvador Dali give humor and lightness to the often serious world of fashion,” Addie noted when explaining her choice of muse.

In creating her own looks, Addie nodded to Schiaparelli in several ways, including, designing clothes that, while avant-garde, are still easy to wear; mixing unusual fabrics; and using surface design techniques to customize her fabrics.

However, Addie’s looks are clearly for a 21st century client.

“The shapes of the garments are a bit unusual, but still wearable,” explains Addie. “They are more like art pieces or special occasion pieces than every-day wear.”

Addie is, not surprisingly, drawn to the illustration and design process parts of creating a collection. But, she says that her four finished looks have evolved a lot since her original sketches.

“I get tired of things easily,” she admits. “I sometimes struggle staying on the same track.” But, Addie added that building this collection provided her with an opportunity to learn to stay focused on a garment (and a collection) and see it through to the end.

Detail image of Addie's leather vest.

The detailing in her finished pieces is a testament to the fact that she found her focus and put in the time and perseverance to see her looks through.

One piece that she is particularly proud of is a pair of devore fabric pants. She started with white satin, died it black, and then spent six painstaking hours on the devore, a burnout technique to create a patterned partially sheer fabric. Once the fabric was created she was able to use her pattern to cut and sew a pair of harem-style pants.

The delicate pants are paired with a leather vest. Though she had never worked in leather before, her end result is a well-tailored cropped vest with a weaving detail at the shoulders.

Elsa Schiaparelli's shoe hat.

For Addie, The looks are a culmination of a journey that started before she came to CCAD.

“When I was young, my mom would always make me dresses,” she said. “I started illustrating and making them on my own, and love it” (although she added that her first clients were her dolls).

It will be fun to see where she lands next.

There is still time to get fashion show tickets, but they are selling quickly. Buy online at www.ccad.edu/fashion.

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The CCAD Fashion Show is an annual fundraising event that showcases the talent of graduating Columbus College of Art & Design Fashion Design Seniors. This popular event sells out every year and this blog is a portal through which to view the behind-the-scenes goings on.

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