HAUTE COUTURE and HEARTFELT WEARABLES by Cristina Pacciani

Today we are very honored to share a story of feltmaking creation from an amazing artist and friend of HeartFelt Silks from across the miles, the lovely CRISTINA PACCIANI.

Cristina is a talented and accomplished felt artist and educator. We are proud to count her among the supporters and enthusiastic users of our Palm Washboard felting tools. Earlier this year, Cristina created felted work for the internationally known Dutch fashion designer Ronald Kolk’s haute couture show. The collection was presented in a large runway show in September 2013.

Ronald Kolk haute couture. Pavlopetri 2013 Runway show. Photography by Jeroen Snijders.
Ronald Kolk haute couture. Pavlopetri 2013 Runway show. Photography by Jeroen Snijders.
Ronald Kolk haute couture. Pavlopetri 2013 Runway show. Photography by Jeroen Snijders.
Ronald Kolk haute couture. Pavlopetri 2013 Runway show. Photography by Jeroen Snijders.

You can watch the entire Ronald Kolk PAVLOPETRI haute couture Runway show HERE. The show was also covered in the news by Parool.nl. For more about Cristina Pacciani’s work, visit her website.

As a special treat, we are also delighted to share Cristina’s story about this project, her process, and inspiration. Please enjoy! Thank you so much for sharing with us, Cristina, and for being a dear friend of HeartFelt Silks!

HAUTE COUTURE and HEARTFELT WEARABLES 
 
When the word was spread that I have been asked to work with Ronald Kolk on his latest haute couture show, many colleagues/fellow artists congratulated me and told me they have been dreaming of something like that their whole life. I never did. Yet I am lucky I got this chance. Not for the glamour or glitter, which is amusing but not really my cup of tea, but because working with talented people is extremely inspiring and, in this case, a true joy.
 
What I liked the most about working with Ronald is that he freed me of all technicalities about making felt. For the first time since I make felt, I FELT the shift in my own approach to the medium, suddenly liberated of all technical luggage and ready to just create and enjoy. Mind you, the technical aspect being the foundation for all this freedom I felt. I knew that I could trust my knowledge, the materials I carefully choose for the collection and rely on a very useful tool, the Palm Washboard, to quickly make little felt samplers to show and discuss.
Copyright: Cristina Pacciani
Besides working on pieces for the collection, I was personally challenged by Ronald to make a dress for my daughter and me for the very chic black tie event. The theme being underwater world, I was lucky as it is perfect for me: I simply love the sea, its colors, its life. I was ready to dive into it.
 
Copyright: Cristina Pacciani
That was a new experience, making my own gown, as I often work on commission for others, but had never made anything for myself. For my daughter I took the trouble to make a sample dress at first, as I had designed a new pattern and needed to check if it worked first…something I usually don’t like to do. She wanted to participate in the making and specifically asked for lots of structures because she loves to use the Palm Washboard: it gives her a certain warranty that it will felt well, no matter what. It is easy and fun to work with.
 
We had much fun laying out the wool and silk and creating all kinds of surface decorations in it. The pattern worked just fine and the size was perfect, so when it was finished, I dyed it into different shades of greens….well, it turned out just what my daughter wanted, so I never got to make the real thing.
 
My dress was a big challenge: it had a long, wide round skirt and took up to twelve meters of silk. Again, the Palm Washboard allowed me to work on the surface concentrating on certain points, keeping sight of the shape without unwanted shrinkage and constructing an intricate pattern of under the surface designs.
Copyright: Cristina Pacciani
On the night of the big event, we both felt wonderful in our felt dresses and received many compliments. The collection has been very well received as well and since then it’s history. I am still working on wearables and enjoying the post haute couture inspiration, working on next year’s collection.
 
If I have learnt anything from this experience (and I think it was very meaningful) I would say that, as we all know, the beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, so when designing clothes I keep comfort and colors in mind, aware that the only real elegance is in the heart.”
 
 
We are honored to know you, Cristina, and we are grateful to be part of your story. Congratulations on all your successes, and we wish you many more! — Robbin and Harry Firth, HeartFelt Silks
Copyright: Cristina Pacciani