Christian Lacroix inspires Joscelyn Wiggs’ Dramatic Designs

April 18th, 2011 by Lacey Luce
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Joscelyn Wiggs

When asked to describe herself as a designer, Joscelyn Wiggs makes a few interesting observations. She describes her style as quirky and says, “I love anything that I can build or tear apart with my own hands. I think three dimensionally.”

What better muse for such a designer than Christian Lacroix, a man known for overlapping multiple prints, and creating the fantastical “pouf” skirt when he launched his couture line in the mid ’80s—a designer whose aesthetic New York Magazine describes as “unapologetically dramatic.”

Joscelyn taps into Lacroix’s style by mixing bold patterns and creating looks with definite volume—even including a pouf skirt on one runway piece. She modernizes the looks and brings in her own voice through her color choices and favoring a corseted look in the bodice.

Screenshot of Christian Lacroix designs

One challenge Joscelyn discovered while developing her collection was committing to a design and fabric. Between creating the illustration and fitting the model she was often re-evaluating and making changes.

“I’d find a fabric that I loved, but then when I worked with it I didn’t like it with the design. I’d have to start over,” she described.

While being adaptable can be a good quality, Joscelyn had to learn to balance the desire to change a garment with the need to finish it.

The piece that Joscelyn is most proud of is one that actually needed little adjustment from start to finish.

“A lot of ideas don’t come out the way you envision them or look the way you think they will look,” said Joscelyn. “But this one did.”

It’s a good thing too, since this garment (which will be on the runway May 13) had an enormous amount of hand sewing. It includes a petticoat covered by a circle skirt that is then detailed with dozens of hand-sewn, three dimensional flowers. Each flower is different from its neighbor and incorporates different patterns and fabrics. Despite the fact that each flower is different, they all come together in one cohesive look.

Detail of Joscelyn Wiggs' flowers

One thing Joscelyn could count on during this challenge was her skill at sewing—a skill she’s been developing since she was old enough to hold a needle. Between 4-H, working in a factory, and working as a seamstress to earn money while in school, she’s gained plenty of experience.

Joscelyn is already in demand in a rather niche business. She’s been tailoring fire, bomb-squad, and chemical spill uniforms for women. The uniforms are not necessarily made with a women’s shape in mind, but it is important for the uniform to fit correctly, that’s where Joscelyn comes in.

Despite all of her experience sewing, Joscelyn still found there were things to learn in CCAD’s sewing labs—new techniques and skills, which keep the skill fresh and interesting.

Joscelyn’s designs will make a dramatic entrance and come down the catwalk Friday, May 13, at Masters of Design the 2011 Senior Fashion Show.

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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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