Saturday, 9 October 2010

My MANy Bags News #270

Below: Dior Homme Fall Winter 2010 by Kris Van Assche...

Dior Homme Marina Bay Sands Opening Special:
The Making Of A Dior Homme Suit - An insight into Dior Homme’s exceptional commitment to craftsmanship

Some of you may already have gotten word that Christian Dior will be holding a huge opening bash, celebrating their new Marina Bay Sands stores next Thursday (Oct 14). Indeed wonderful news for all Christian Dior and Dior Homme fans, since this marks another milestone for the brand’s expanding presence in our sunny shores... but also for Singapore’s fast growing reputation as the shopping paradise of Southeast Asia, rivaling even Hong Kong or Europe!

The opening of the new Dior Homme store at Marina Bay Sands Shoppes makes Singapore have not just one but 2 Dior Homme stores within the short time span of just over a year. Singaporean men now have no excuse to complain about their lack of style options. Dior Homme has come a long way to be assimilated and embraced by fashion savvy men the world over, shaking off the androgynous, skinny attitudes once perpetuated by Hedi Slimane.

Kris Van Assche took over Dior Homme from Spring Summer 2008, inculcating his less severe take on menswear while leveraging on the rich couture roots of the house of Dior. As such, his direction for menswear is more forgiving on the wearer (not as slim fitted for the waif-like boys that Hedi Slimane favoured) while retaining a contemporary touch complimented by exceptional traditional craftsmanship. Kris Van Assche’s signatures of monochromatic palette, extreme volumes, unstructured fluidity and his keen interest in Latin sensuality are often exemplified in his Dior Homme creations.

But what good is exceptional taste and designing skills when it is not substantiated by the artisanal expertise that ensures a quality end product is delivered to the stores. How are we to justify the high amounts tagged to each coveted piece from the designer’s ideas? Well, here’s some interesting insight into the time consuming and meticulous process of how Dior Homme suits are crafted from design to delivery.

Do you know Dior Homme is one of those luxury house that operate their own Suit Factory instead of outsourcing to a third party? (I know Tom Ford suits are crafted by Ermenegildo Zegna.) With an in-house operation and expertise, quality can be much tightly controlled. Located in Northern Italy since it was founded in 2001, the Dior Homme suit factory taps on the incomparable savour-faire of world renowned Italian craftsmen-tailors. Working closely with Kris Van Assche and the Dior Homme design team, each Dior Homme suit requires 5 long weeks of work, involving exclusive selection of fabrics, hand cutting and traditional handwork that makes every piece a true sartorial marvel.

There are 9 stages involved in the making of a Dior Homme suit. By understanding these processes, we can further appreciate the meticulous hardwork involved in the finished merchandise we see in stores. The production techniques of Dior Homme combine the best of modern technology and the refined sensibility and skills of a traditional craftsman.

1. Sketch and pattern

This is the beginning of the translation of the designer’s idea into reality. The Dior Homme studio sends the manufacturer the technical elements necessary for the creation of a piece designed by Kris Van Assche. Upon receipt, a paper pattern is produced for each design. These patterns will serve as the base for the execution of unique pattern blocks, cutting of the fabric, and devising size grading using computer technology.

2. Choice of materials

Nothing beats top quality materials. It is the consumer’s first point of physical contact. Dior Homme ensures only the best of traditional Italian or very innovative Japanese fabrics are used. Each bolt of fabric chosen is then subjected to intense quality checking before being laid out on a computer controlled cutting table.

3. Cutting

The Parisian Studio first sends its pattern and prototype to the Italian Dior Homme Atelier for the making of each style. This information (of sketches and measurements) can lead up to 220 elements for the construction of the suit.

I know Savile row tailors believes in the art of hand cutting the fabrics. However, Dior Homme employs the precision of modern cutting thru a computer controlled cutting table where each element of a suit is entrusted to a single machine for optimal consistency.

Using the same machine and fabric to cut out each element ensures the various parts maintain the same colour bath. An identification number is then assigned to each element of the suit for recognition during assembly. As each piece of fabric can varying slightly in colour and shading, this is Dior Homme's strict control to ensure the colour bath in each suit are carefully maintained.

The metal pattern blocks for cutting out top collars and revers are often exclusive to each design and therefore, these characteristic elements of Dior Homme suits are cut out by hand.

4. Assembly

This important and crucial process of making a Dior Homme jacket best expresses the quality of construction that comes from the couture spirit of the house of Dior. The traditional assembly of the three constituent elements of the body of a Dior Homme jacket (Lining, fabric, interlining) is the most delicate and requires a level of experience that only a long tradition can guarantee.

The inner construction of a jacket is its soul. Hence Dior Homme jackets are entirely mounted, with the canvas ensuring the jacket of its elegance and lightness, in addition to maintaining substance and hold. The interlining has an important role (the internal part between the fabric and the lining) and Dior Homme jackets only uses high-quality materials of natural origin such as camel fibres and horse hairs.

5. Basting (sewing, to tack or baste is to make quick, temporary stitching intended to be removed.)

Yet another operation essential to the elegance of the suit. Unlike majority of factory-made suits which utilises iron-on interfacing, Dior Homme suits’ basting are entirely hand sewn. This not only allows for even more perfect positioning of the mounting onto the fabric but also helps to obtain a stiffness that can be subtly adjusted to the lines of the body.

6. Mounting operations

Natural materials such as camel fibres and horse hairs that are used as mountings are first washed and dried with care in order to maintain its strength and elasticity. Proper treatments of these mountings are crucial, as believed in all bespoke Italian suiting. Hence, this operation is only handled by a specialised team within the Dior Homme Suit Factory.

The final mountings are then assembled by hand on a ribbon in order to balance the more or less rigid zones of the jacket. The strengthening panels are first sewn in followed by another round of sewing in between the outer fabric and the lining.

One of the most noteworthy trait of a Dior Homme jacket is the way the interfacing is done. Being tacked using big loose hand sewn stitches, it not only allows for accurate positioning of the interlining onto the fabric but most importantly, it gives the jacket more fluidity while being worn ensuring elegance, lightness and posture.

7. Setting of the collars and sleeves

A process that involves great patience and huge amounts of hand work. Shoulder pad are first hand stitched to the interlining before sewing the sleeve to the body of the jacket. The shoulder is then further reinforced with a special piece called ‘Rollino’ that strengthens the shoulders and creates the characteristic hang of a Dior Homme Jacket. Armholes and collars are then precisely attached and sewn. Upon completion, the hand work is carefully inspected by an artisan before all the tacks are removed.

8. Pressing

Throughout the assembly process, the fabrics are pressed many times in order to maintain their shape. Each part of a jacket has its own corresponding board and iron. U should be amazed by the amounts of specialised equipment involved, even for this simple job of pressing. Special curved ironing board adapted to the shape of collar and shoulders are used for the aforementioned areas while a board modeled after the shoulder line of a mannequin is used for pressing the shoulder zones . The pressers are also specialised, each only ironing one specific piece of the garment! You can imagine how much manpower it involves to get a jacket made!

9. Finishing and quality control

This is the final stage and the cumulation of the numerous hours of hardwork in making the Dior Homme jacket. Buttons are finally sewn in individually by the expert artisans, ensuring a clean, sharp finish that characterises each jacket.

When finished, each completed jacket is carefully assessed with the aid of specialised patterns, where even the slightest irregularity would sent the garment to the repairs workroom to be reworked till perfection.

In summary, expect these attributes when you choose a Dior Homme suit:

- fitted jacket, body skimming
- high-set armholes
- narrow shoulders
- narrow lapels
- pants (low waist and narrow and without darting)

It’s only after passing stringent series of checks throughout the entire production process that a Dior Homme suit can finally be deemed suitable for store delivery and into the hands of a savvy customer. So next time you try on a Dior Homme jacket, be sure to appreciate the many hours of meticulous construction and admire the fine craftsmanship that the house of Dior has come to be revered for.

Below: Dior Homme Fall Winter 2010 Mens collection...

This is the first of a 2-part special on Christian Dior which will culminate in the brand’s official opening on 14 October 2010 at Marina Bay Sands. Watch the blog for exciting updates right here on that very night.

Source: Dior Homme

1 comment:

M.J.C.G. said...

Excellent Post, I enjoyed 100%, thank you!