What could be more remarkable than a print?
I don't know about you, but when I'm wandering around stores, it's often what catches my eye: before the cut, the line, the garment itself, it's a fabric that interrupts my window-shopping strolls. A color that catches my eye out of the corner of my eye, a pattern I want to take a closer look at.
An exclusive print is also a means of identifying a brand. And in the world of couture, fabric editors who develop their own patterns are immediately recognizable. When you look at a hand-sewn garment, the first thing you notice is the fabric pattern, before you identify the sewing pattern you've chosen. And I love this idea of a pattern that people will love to wear, and that will "sign" an allure, an outfit. Choosing a fabric for its pattern is a way of saying what you like, of asserting your style.
Ever since I created my brand, I've always wanted to come up with a global creative proposal. This starts with the sewing pattern, which I try to infuse with a creative note of my own for each model Maison Fauve. Then there's the design of our sewing pattern envelopes, so that sewing pattern pochettes are an extension of the collections' universe. There's also all the research that goes into our photo shoots: the locations, the accessories, the styling of the outfits, the way our photographer will work on her photos to capture the atmosphere I want to impregnate the collection with. Working with fabrics is a natural extension of this creative process.
For Fauvae Botanica, the Jardin Fauve pattern was the culmination of several months' work to create a print that would be emblematic of the collection.
How do I create a textile pattern?
The first step is researching the design. The Fauvae Botanica universe is imbued with the atmosphere of curiosity cabinets, Victorian aesthetics with a hint of Gothic, and the wild, dreamlike garden. I wanted to develop a floral motif with a "mysterious", even venomous note. I drew my inspiration from botanical engraving books, the old plates drawn by botanists. The line had to highlight the contours, volumes and reliefs, as I didn't want to "fill" my flowers with color. The background would be the only color, and the lines of the flowers would be highlighted by contrast.
The fabric should not have a "top" and a "bottom", so that the parts can be positioned in a way that optimizes fabric consumption.
That the pattern does not connect, so that seamstresses do not have to deal with this problem when cutting and assembling parts
For the flowers, I carefully chose which species would be represented. My preference was for Japanese camellia, peony, anemone and immortelle.
The camellia is a winter flower whose petals describe very tight curves and very soft curves (and I'm not going to hide my passion for Chanel, the wink is all too obvious ;)).
The anemone is a very interesting flower for the contrast between its visually strong, stamen-laden center and its light, supple petals.
The peony is a spectacular flower for its volume, the cut-outs in the petals, and it's as beautiful represented in full bloom as it is in bud. It's also the flower I chose to embellish my forearm with a large, life-size tattoo of peonies in black and gray.
Immortelle adds a more vegetal note, and it has a particular emotional charge for me, as my mom is Corsican and immortelles have the scent of vacations, sunshine and the wild beauty of Corsican landscapes.
Then comes the element that creates the surprise in this bucolic composition: the viper, which undulates and snakes to bring dynamism to the whole. This viper, too, is drawn according to the codes of naturalistic drawing.
I created each flower in several copies, and in different configurations. Then I came to mix them, entangle them and integrate the snake to create harmony and establish 2 "basic" motifs.
After hand sketches on paper, to practice and refine my design, I worked on Procreate to digitally format the drawings and on Illustrator to shape the overall pattern. This was followed by the most technical part, which is indispensable in the creation of a textile design, and which was the most difficult for me: creating a pattern with a connection. The pattern must be consistent in its repetition, and the pattern jump must be repeated without creating a break between the different work surfaces, in both height and width. The tricky thing is to manage the repetition without obtaining a bizarre and overly obvious effect of highly ordered multiplication, especially on a figurative and non-geometric motif like Jardin Fauve. I carried out multiple tests and paper prints to validate placement, scale and repetition. The motifs had to be easy to find from one pattern piece to the next, while remaining airy and easy to read.
Choosing the right fabric
I wanted the Jardin Fauve print to embellish lightweight pieces such as dresses, blouses and blouses. I chose a viscose poplin: it's a soft, supple fabric that's easy to sew, and its opacity makes it ideal for all kinds of pieces. It also drapes beautifully, accentuating the "lively" side of the design. The quality of poplin had already been validated in our previous collections, so I knew there would be no worries about washing or ironing, and that the fabric would lend itself well to sewing.
To do... And do it again!
I sent all the elements to our textile printer, and we did some initial tests to see if we could use color on the viscose poplin. On receipt, we were disillusioned: the design didn't stand out, the lines were too thin. The scale isn't great either: the motifs are too small, too compressed, not legible enough. But it did allow me to validate my color choices, and above all to highlight the flaws in my first drawings. So I completely redrew each element, reworked the placement, made new test prints on paper... And set off again for the textile printer, crossing my fingers that the pattern would be as beautiful as I'd imagined. And this second attempt was the right one: I had my signature pattern!
The new printout is ready, now it's time to choose the color range. To this end, I have drawn up a range of colors for Fauvae Botanica. I chose Cherry Redthe Marron Glacéand theMahogany as new colors to add to our range. They are the perfect complement to Sable, Khaki, Ink Blue and the Scarab Green already present in our fabric range. And above all, they combine with each other and with the fabrics we had sourced in deadstock and the jacquards we had woven: the woollens. Storm Grey and Deep Blackjacquards Botanica Ecru and Ink Blue.
How is a collection created?
The work on the collection is built around a primary inspiration (in this case, the secret garden). I imagine a wardrobe that will fit into this universe. I draw models, combine garments until I decide on the sewing pattern that will build the season's wardrobe.
At the same time, I work on the choice of materials, the range of colors and patterns, and carry out initial fabric trials to decide which will be best suited to sewing pattern. Once the colors have been decided, we produce a range of matching buttons, order the sewing threads, and then sew the visuals that will be presented at the shoot.
The aim of our fabric collections is to enable you to sew, without fear of making a mistake, the sewing pattern sewing Maison Fauve. And every season, fabrics are added to match our models: the Soliflore blouse/dress, the dress version of the Vipère pattern and the Cicadella blouse are beautifully sewn in Jardin Fauve viscose poplin.
A story of encounter
The rest of this story is written by you. When we launch our collections, we can't be sure: will you like the patterns, what color will appeal to you most, what seams will you imagine in the new fabrics?
Discovering you in fabric Maison Fauve, seeing how you build your wardrobe with hand-sewn pieces in our fabrics, that's the nicest conclusion to give to this creative journey: from the drawings I pencil to your most beautiful works, we've come full circle!
Thank you for your article
I can't wait to see the fabric at the show.
Wonderful! I loved reading about the thought and work that went into making these fabrics!
I'm impressed by the work done and the aesthetics of the result. This fabric is a rare beauty! Bravo! But how not to crack...
Thank you for this article. It was very interesting to read about your creative process.
It's fascinating to discover what goes behind the scenes of a collection. Maison Fauve is truly a complete creative concept and Émilie a multi-talented artist!