The Golden Rules

How to Design For Designers

The most consistently celebrated and influential designers can be credited with spurring art culture in fashion, empowerment  and expressing social messages and with ultimately rendering ready-to-wear reputable. Today those fashion houses maintain a unique combination of  design, construction and marketing to reveal the design language and fashion classification.

Fashion adaptations have been created with consideration of recognisable design elements typical of each specific designer.

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Volume is one of the biggest influences at Balenciaga, the house is credited for it’s alteration to the ways that depict a womans silhouette and shape. Balance of both hard and soft through draped, or sculpted forms. Shapes simplified and did not cling to or mold the body. His sensibility of Spanish style, had given way to a more austere, almost monastic look.

The innovation seems to be more balanced with a greater sense of functionality. Wear-ability, and “breath-ability” were guiding principles in his design and, Balenciaga created designs that bear witness to his keen attention to the effects achieved by combining different colors and textures and meticulous attention to detail.

The tunic (1955), chemise or sack (1957), and Empire styles (1958) drew attention away from the natural waist through the creation of a tubular line or the emphasis that a bloused back laid on the hip line or that a high waist laid on the bust.

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Designing for a contemporary young designer market
The contemporary young designer market is tailored for a customer who are looking to invest in design with integrity—or simply put, pieces that will live beyond a couple of seasons. Linear silhouettes and precise tailoring paired with intricately customized fabrics, prints and branded fastenings in precise construction and minimal colour palettes, giving the wearer a sense of ease in the garments. Confident in its edgy sophistication, while giving the wearer a sense of ease in the garments. These ready-to-wear garments are manufactured in limited runs and sold exclusively through branded stores and high end boutiques.


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During the ensuing decade Saint Laurent carried on with his favorite themes-the now classic blazer, dinner jacket, smock, pea jacket, raincoat, pants suit, and safari jacket. In an even more radical shift, he took on the male wardrobe, diverting and transposing the dinner jacket, pants suit, safari jacket, and pea jacket to bring masculine and feminine together in a single design.

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Designing for a contemporary high street market
Contemporary High Street fashion is versatile in design and created with quality fibres. Natural materials are favoured while the silhouette is considered safe in the way of aesthetics. Clientele and a middle markets price range budget is considered along with a muted colour palette that may feature subtle seasonal prints.

The simplistic construction of these garments employs adjustable elements such as straps, hemlines and waistlines. Garments are ready-to-wear and are of high quality.

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Montana’s design strengths were bold, shoulder-heavy shapes (he was often referred to as “the king of the shoulder pad”), and his audacious aesthetic turned his brand into a fashion powerhouse.

On the dawn of the high-octane glamour of the 80s Claude Montana introduced an aggressive silhouette with exaggerated shoulders, collars popped with cinched waists paired with vivid colours in luxurious materials.

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Designing for an evening wear market
Evening wear is specific to occasion therefor there is a range of expenses to consider with materials and embellishments, this can be determined by the clientele and their budgets and the need for the dress to be customisable or made to measure. Feminine lines and long lengths with shiny, flowy, voluminous fabrics that enhance the silhouette of the body.

Construction commonly consists of a bias cut, Internal elements such as boning and framework/ Corsetry. Invisible Zips and embellishment or/ and discreet buttoning/clasps. Runway shows, look-books, red carpet events and celebrities are essential for marketing along side the support of social media and magazines. Sold in boutiques or by appointment with the designer.

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Cardin is known for his acute intuition, which often made him a trendsetter and design leader. Cardin has expanded his design operations far beyond fashions for both men and women to encompass all aspects of modern living.

His experimentation with fabrics embraced geometric abstraction without losing sight of the human figure. Cardin’s ability to sculpt fabric with an architectural sensibility became his signature. Making garments with impeccable craftsmanship, Cardin possessed the skills and vision to make his dreams a wearable reality. Inspired by op art science and the future Cardin was innovative in his use of vinyl and metal in combination with wool fabric.

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Designing for a fashion art market
Consideration that is typical for the production of “Fashion Art” would encompass a formulated design that adheres to the company aesthetic. Design would be based on the concept over functionality. Made to measure and a focus of the sculptural element without loosing site of the purpose of the body or using the body as a foundation or platform. Fashion art is a one-off piece and can be used for high end celebrity performers like Lady Gaga for example. or even as costume design. Pieces may be sold and/or exhibited. Employing a high degree of finishes to allow for seamless reinforcement. In this case Pierre Cardin used unconventional materials such as rubber, PVC and metals.

The construction of fashion art could be made with industrial strength materials or delicate fibres, depending on its purpose and aesthetic value. Structural support and framework must be considered for the piece to be wearable.  Marketing is launched through various channels between runway shows, social media, magazines, high end fashion art photography and can rarely be seen by avant garde celebrity’s on the red carpet. Bjork for example often arrives to red carpet events wearing fashion art, her statement piece in the swan dress is still to this day well remembered.
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The Gaultier style of the 1980s was identifiable as exuberant and provocative. Characterised by the famous silhouette of broad and sloping shoulders and narrow hips that emphasized stockinged legs.

The selection of materials used was enriched by his fascination with London and street culture. It was this influence that would enlist stylistic consistency, which challenges contrast between genders and champions individuality. Gaultier’s palette of colors and were executed in black, navy blue, khaki, brown, red, and deep purple-Gaultier’s original colors-have in the course of time been joined by salmon and powder pink, orange, turquoise, beige, and bronze.

Jacket and pants constitute the basic link between male and female wardrobes. The masculinity of double-breasted jacket, fitted coat, leather jacket, overalls, trench coat, smock, and down jacket is inflected by the femininity of corset, stockings, and garters. Certain details are trademarks, such as fastenings for his clothes: his designs feature distinctive zippers, laces, hooks, tortoiseshell buttons.

During the 1990’s The silhouette became more balanced, and comfort and protection took on added importance. Gaultier employed Lycra blended with traditional materials provides comfort in his designs. Wool, taffeta, and velvet, for example, are blended with rayon, latex, imitation leather and
synthetic tulle.
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Designing for a street wear market
Street wear is a considered ensemble that aligns itself to an social identity and the wearer tailors the garments to their own taste. Design must take into consideration what’s happening socially, culturally and be based on specific clientele and their budgets. Fabrics can range in quality and price, materials such as cottons, crepe, denim, lace or mesh are traditionally used. Concepts can be edgy or iconic and may consider accessories that support the streetwear identity.

Construction of garments are based on the need for durability and easy care and may involve patterns, plaids or placement prints. Internal elements such as boning and framework for the adaption of corsetry or structured garments. Varied application is undertaken in factories for the inclusion of fastenings, zippers and buttons.

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Menkes, Suzy. “Temple to a Monk of Fashion: Museum to Open in Basque Designer’s Birthplace.” International Herald Tribune, 23 May 2000. An overview of the Fundación Balenciaga in Guetaria.

Spindler, Amy M. “Keys to the Kingdom: A Fashion Fairy Tale Wherein Nicolas Ghesquière Finally Inherits the Throne.” New Yorker, 14 April 2002, pp. 53-58. Ghesquière encounters the Balenciaga archives at last.


[Book] Farid Muller , Florence Chenoune,, 2010. The Yves Saint Laurent . 1st ed. Paris: Harry N. Abrams .

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Benaïm, Laurence. Yves Saint Laurent. Paris: Grasset, 1993.

Buck, Joan Juliet. “Yves Saint Laurent on Style, Passion, and Beauty.” Vogue (December 1983): 301.

Yves Saint Laurent, Diana Vreeland, et al. Yves Saint Laurent. New York: Clarkson N. Potter, Inc., 1983.

Claude Montana
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Cool Hunting. 2014. Claude Montana: Fashion Radical – Cool Hunting. [ONLINE] at: [07 November 2014].

Marielle, Cro , 2011. MONTANA. 1st ed. UK: Thames & Hudson .PC

AD . 2014: [17 November 2014].


Langle, Elisabeth Langle, 2005. Pierre Cardin 50 years of fashion design. 1st ed. NY USA:
Vendome Press.

Lobenthal, Joel. Radical Rags: Fashions of the Sixties. New York: Abbeville Press, 1990.

Lynam, Ruth, ed. Couture: An Illustrated History of the Great Paris Designers and Their Creations. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1972.

Jean Paul Gaultier

Referenced via NGV Melboure Australia from Sidewalk to Catwalk

Loriot-Maxime, Theirry, 2014. The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier. 1st ed. Australia: The Council of Trustees NATIONAL GALLERY OF VICTORIA.

Chenoune, Farid. Jean-Paul Gaultier. New York: Universe Publishers, 1998.

McDowell, Colin. Jean-Paul Gaultier. New York: Viking Press, 2001.

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