Normally when it comes to designing something for a special occasion, I find myself leaning towards peacock sensibilities, but in this instance, I had the opportunity to exercise the art of knowing how to ~pull back~ and revel in the delicacies of subtlety. This was to be a kind of quiet elegance which as Neil mused in the beginning stages of design, needed to make a statement without raising its voice.
So it was important to pay special attention to the subtlest of details, things perhaps only Neil would know were there ~ the texture and feel of the fabric, the ever so slight stripe in the wool, or the shadowy sheen of the black on black herringbone contrast. I originally used Coraline style sew-through buttons, as a nod to the Academy Award nominated film he's attending the Oscars in celebration of, but at the last second decided matching fabric covered ones had the right look afterall.
This will be the first time (that I'm aware of certainly) one of my designs will have been worn for the Oscars red carpet. Of course that's pretty much one of the penultimate honours in the design world. It certainly didn't happen overnight, and it was a culmination of many years that have built up to this moment. I'm so glad when it does happen, it will have been for a person whom I personally respect and admire the works of so much (not to mention most importantly of all ~ what an incredibly warm and kind spirit he so naturally exudes). Speaking of the passage of years, about half a lifetime ago, I remember wearing a giant carved ankh necklace, only to slightly later find about Neil's character Death from "Sandman". Ah, so she is one of us I thought... One of my favourite things in life that I'm discovering over time, is if you stay true to following your heart, and are blessed at being granted enough time to do so, ultimately this kind of magical full circle moment can come to be.
Thank you also to my dear partner Chris (aka the "Cursed Haberdasher"!), who's worked and been alongside me throughout all of this, and who somehow, unbelievably, still lovingly supports me and all of my crazy Mr. Toad ideas :)
Because there's more to a book than its cover, here is a view of some of the structural layering of the interior (the safety pins were temporary of course!):
Pad stitching done by hand to ensure the proper roll of the collar:
Here's a sneak peek of the finished design ~ I'm looking forward to updating these images with ones of Neil actually wearing and enjoying the jacket very soon!
The Academy Awards will air on Sunday March 7, 2010. I'm hoping to have a plate of these adorable Coraline-inspired button cookies on hand while it's on.
Now to see if there's time to whip out and overnight a coordinating shirt and/or vest!
all my best,