Before meeting Geneviève, my only experience with her pattern work was through books (Debo, 2003; Trebbi, 2010) and her website . The concept of cutting garments from a single piece seemed like an interesting field for research and development as viewed from an interest of the relation between two- and three-dimensional shapes. From 2009 to 2011, while producing collections under an eponymous label, I elaborated on Geneviève’s patterns by working in a manner comparable to what is described in Section 2.5 as “designing with patterns”. By printing and enlarging the patterns, attempting to determine how they were supposed to come together, and further altering and elaborating on the shapes, new garments were developed for the collections. Attempts were also made to merge traditional pattern blocks into one-piece patterns that eliminated or shifted the positions of conventional seam placements on various garment types comparable to what has been done by North Face, for example, as well as by David Telfer.
In being personally introduced to Geneviève’s work and ideas, a methodological and theoretical discrepancy in my attempts to work with the ‘coupe en un seul morceau’ principle presented itself. Geneviève’s garments also related more directly and naturally to the body than any of my own attempts did, and they also moved along with the wearer in a manner different to what I was used to. I had approached the concept of cutting garments from a single piece of fabric by beginning with the theoretical framework that I had learned in tailoring school – i.e., by elaborating with block patterns derived from the tailoring matrix, as in the work at Bauer Tailors. Here, the starting point was the fabric and the body.
Here, the starting point was the fabric and the body. Block patterns or dress-stands marked with straight lines were nowhere in sight.
Block patterns or dress-stands marked with straight lines were nowhere in sight. The garments were sculptured on the person that they were intended for while that person moved around in the atelier. Moreover, according to Sevin-Doering, if one begins with the actual body, there is no clear logic to split pieces at, say, the top of the shoulder or along the sides. Quite the opposite: the shoulders are one of the natural points where garments rest on the body and from where the garments are being pulled downward by gravity, or as Geneviève, herself, expressed it to me: You must work from the inside and outward, not from the outside inward.
the shoulders are one of the natural points where garments rest on the body and from where the garments are being pulled downward by gravity, or as Geneviève, herself, expressed it to me: You must work from the inside and outward, not from the outside inward.
By this, Geneviève is suggesting that, rather than starting from pattern blocks or from fabric pieces that are shaped towards the body, one should start from the body, wrapping and/or draping it in fabric according to its shape and movements. It was obvious that Geneviève’s work was based on a different approximation or theoretical understanding of the body than the one I had been presented with in tailoring school. However, how this approximation differed from the traditional tailoring matrix was not comprehensible, as it was neither verbalised nor visualised, other than through the garments and the patterns bearing marks of another view on dressmaking.