Recently, enamoured with the proportions of David Beckham's shawl collar velvet smoking jacket in a recent vodka commercial, I went seeking similar lines of beauty for an evening jacket I wished to create for Le Noeud Papillon's Christmas window and to be used for an upcoming event. The jacket was experimental in the sense that we were using a new fabric designed for the application of bow ties and grafting that across into a jacket. The composition of the fabric was both silk and cotton with the fabric giving off a lovely rich lustre with a depthing aspect provided by the warp and weft by the way in which the fabric was woven. I described it previously as having a '3D' or 'raised' effect.
The first step was to see whether one of my associated tailors would take on the work and Leng was my first choice and turned out to be the only one willing to accept the work. The smoking jacket was to be contrasted on the shawl and cuff with a black grosgrain silk we keep in stock. I also had to set about having the buttons custom made with fabric shanks which required taking a trip across town to a button maker.
Today, in stifling heat and humidity I was in the city of Sydney for the first fitting with Leng and I must say, the jacket is particularly stunning. The fabric has a lovely play of light within it and shimmers on certain angles. It will be contrasted well with the muted sheen of grosgrain which will deaden the sometimes over bright jacket body. Leng has used a variety of canvas and felt like materials to build up both the shawl collar and the chest to give some spring to the jacket.
The areas that are not yet convincingly done correctly are the shape of the shawl. Leng and I got a little animated when I tried to explain what it was I was seeking. In his opinion the proportions of the Beckham jacket were too wide but I explained to him that I was seeking a similar 'universal line of beauty' in the shape of the shawl and that if that meant going outside of the proportions he was comfortable with then so be it.
Time will tell whether Leng or I was right and I will be forced to live with whatever comes no doubt; as I am quite sure Leng won't have a great deal of sympathy if I did indeed make the wrong call. Still, as Pablo Picasso did say "learn the rules like a pro so you can break them like an artist".
Let's pray for that Universal Line of Beauty emerging somewhere from that hot and muggy first fitting.
Leng Bespoke: Tel: 0430 388 528 Email: Address: Ground Floor 20 York St Sydney 2000
|Leng awaits me for the first fitting.|
|Unlined and basted but not yet sewn. Areas to be tweaked were shoulders, to be brought in slightly, and below chest.|
|A great shot revealing the shimmy and play of colour in this silk and cotton woven jacquard from an Italian silk mill.|
|Not yet happy with the size of the shawl or its curvature but very happy with the overall proportions of this evening jacket.|
|The same silk grosgrain that we use in our bow ties will be used in this shawl collar to deaden the brightness of the silk body in both the shawl and cuff. www.lenoeudpapillon.com|
|Principal of Leng Bespoke, Mr. Leng Ngo, and myself. I am wearing one of the new Moth of Sydney Pop-Overs available through Becker Minty currently and soon on the website. www.lenoeudpapillon.com|