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Project Design: France and Italy

Day 21: New York Bound

This trip was an opportunity of a lifetime. I would not change a single thing. France and Italy are two places I know I will never forget. If only I didn’t have to come home! The places we saw and the people we met were unbelievably incredible. The girls on this trip were some of the best people I ever met and I could not be happier to have shared so many memories with them! You all mean so much to me and I know we will all keep in touch! Professor Markus deserves a lot of gratitude for all the hard work she put into coordinating this entire trip from start to finish. Even when she was sick, she kept pushing through to make sure we got the most out of this trip. Without her none of this would be possible. Wandering from place to place with seventeen fine young women is no easy task! Also, thanks to Jesse for making this trip and all of the necessary procedures run smoothly!

(Source: waitingtopack)

Day 20: Palazzo Morando and Zibetti e Orsini

Palazzo Morando:

On our last day in Italy we went to the Palazzo Morando to see so many stunning and amazing costumes on display from various operas and ballets. These costumes were created by famous designers such as Versace and Missoni. Each costume was just incredible. You could just tell that there was so much more work required to make these costumes for a performer, since he or she may be a dancer, meaning that the garment needed to be able to move just as gracefully as it’s wearer. Also, the designer had to focus on what colors and fabrications would look best with the stage lighting. This is no ordinary or easy job. It took more time and effort than crafting a look for a runway show, that’s for sure. The costume designers have to take into consideration any emotion or symbolic meaning to include in the interpretation conveyed through a particular costume. In other words, it is no easy task to narrow down what the designer is trying to reveal to the audience through the clothing a performer may be wearing. Perhaps the costume designer is focusing on a mood, or personal characteristic belonging to one of the leading sopranos. 

Zibetti e Orsini:

Our last industry appointment! Where better to go to an amazing textile company used by Chanel? As soon as we walked in, I immediately started missing B & J Fabrics and Mood. The rooms that we toured through reminded me of an over- glorified version of the FIT swatch room, you know, the one that no one supposedly uses but everyone runs there for awesome swatches just before their fashion art presentations. There were racks of swatches for beading and embroidery samples. How I wished that i brought my fabric shears! It would have been the most opportune time to begin the portfolio swatch hunt, especially since no one back in New York would have any of the same ones! Sigh. Well the two brothers that offered the tour were thoughtful enough to send us off with two huge packages filled with some sample yardage and swatches from previous collections. So there will be some swatches in my portfolio after all! How exciting! 

Day 19: Columba Leddi & The Triennale Design Museum

Columba Leddi

With our last few days in Milan winding away, we were making our rounds, visiting design showrooms. We made sure to visit Columba Leddi before we left! Unfamiliar to this label, I was really interested by the brand’s main concept. The small company focuses on the subject of nature. The inspiration for the prints was usually pulled from flowers and other plants. In fact, some of the prints were enhanced photographs. The Columba Leddi design aesthetic was very refreshing. I liked how effortless and clean it looked. So many designs today looked forced and overworked, however this was not the case for this company. Columba Leddi took great pride in just accepting the beauty associated with nature. Even the fabrication used for the collection we were shown reflected this. Cotton was frequently used and it reinforced this unprocessed take on design. The silhouettes were soft and very delicate. 

The Triennale Design Museum:

Just fifteen minutes away from Columba Leddi was a modern design museum. After spending time at a few in France, I was very excited to see the modern design in Italy. I wanted to see the differences within the artist’s media, technique and inspiration. To say the least, Italian artists did not disappoint here at all. The museum was completely interactive! You could sit on the furniture and some of the designs. It was like the Wonderland of interior design! I must have tried out sitting in all the different chairs and playing around with the unusual gadgets left out. As you continued on through, it was like falling deeper into the rabbit hole. It was basically an adult playground. Somewhere there was a bed designed to look like a human- sized bird’s nest! How cool is that! It definitely starts to make you wonder WHAT exactly was this designer thinking? Creativity was just at an excess here and I loved absolutely every minute!

Day 18: Appointments at Rodi & The Silk Museum

On this fine day in Milan, we headed over to Lake Como. Lake Como was a sight to see. I only wished that we were able to spend some more time there aside from our appointments at Rodi and the Silk Museum. 

Appointment at Rodi:

Visiting this textile mill was essential to see while taking this course in Italy. This textile mill primarily focuses on silk production, printing, weaving and so on for companies such as Louis Vuitton, Valentino, and Burberry. As we passed through we were able to see Louis Vuitton fabric being woven and the textile screens for printing the trademark logos and designs on silk. The cute little old man who did not speak a word of the english language made sure that we had the chance to see anything and everything. He brought us past the different dye and washing stations. It was interesting to see how the things that we casually find in stores are came to be made. A lot of work goes into making a silk Valentino scarf.

The Silk Museum:

Shortly after watching the modern day production of silk goods, it was nice to go to the Silk Museum to see the history of silk production. Once there, we were able to see the different machines dating back further than the 1900’s used to weave and dye silk. We learned a brief history about the silk worms, their diets and the preparation needed for silk harvesting to occur. The silk strands produced are so beautiful, unlike the worms that spin the thin threads. The museum was making arrangements for another exhibition launch just as we arrived, so we were unable to see some parts of the museum.

Day 17: Venezia to Milan

Belvast Manufacturing:

Being a little homesick for Manhattan, I started to cheer up thinking about Milan. Milan in a way is the NYC of Italy with all of it’s buildings and traffic. This would help for the transition back to life in Manhattan for sure. On the way to Milan we made a stop or two along the way. One of the stops we made was to Belvast. Belvast is currently the manufacture for high- end production for companies such as Hermes, Armani, Ferragamo, Prada, etc. As we arrived we received a tour throughout the entire company to view the production process step by step. We were able to see the patternmaker adjusting the measurements on slopers for a personalized Prada men’s suit. After that we passed by hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of machinery used to print, and computer generate the graded patterns for the apparel. Moving forward, we were able to see some of the fabrications from the warehouse being laser cut. Then we followed along to see the basting and assembly of the tailored suit jackets and coats. It was a good experience too see how things are manufactured at production quality. As a design student, I was mainly acclimated to spending hour upon hour of hand- basting any of my tailored jackets. The apparel was made at the finest quality available in a very short amount of time. For what would take a poor little fashion design student weeks to complete a suit jacket, this company could do it in a matter of hours. 

Day 16: Lido

After all that work, it was time to play, and by play I mean relax on a beach in Venice. We spent all day laying on a beach in Lido receiving only the best treatment offered. We had our own private and exclusive cabana. There we soaked up some sun, swam and some of us even kayaked the Adriatic Sea. It was a day well- deserved after all of our hard work! 

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