Wow. It’s almost a little surreal that this is finally happening! I’ve had two days of fabric shopping in New York which passed in the hungover haze of jetlag, and now I’m adjusted, ready and rearing to go.
Day 1 of Susan Khalje’s French Jacket Class is all about acquiring the materials needed for the next 6 days. I’m meeting Susan and the other French Jacketeers at Mendel & Goldberg in New York when they arrive around midday, but I’m here two hours early to peruse fabrics and just enjoy a bit of introverting.
This shop really does have the best of the best – Valentino and Etro silks, Chanel boucles, Elie Saab beaded laces and on and on. Boucle is the fabric of choice, due to its loft which allows you to quilt the fabric and lining together without the stitching showing through. If you’re keen to know more – I’d highly recommend this read by Leisa which is part of the French Jacket sewalong :) Like with any fabric, you can choose to pay as little or as much as you like – but unravelling the edges of the more expensive stuff and you can see why it costs as it does.
I’m looking to get boucle and silk charmuese to line it with (although you can also use crepe de chin or georgette – suited for lighter weight boucles for warmer climes). Before everyone arrives I’ve picked out two potential options and matching linings with the help of Josie:
After looking at my blog banner/carousel the other day and noticing that just about EVERYTHING I’ve made recently has been blue, I vowed to not buy a single piece of blue fabric whilst here… it seems I’ve slipped quite comfortably into a rut!! I thought the orange/lilac or the yellow/grey would be excellent to kick the habit.
When the van from Baltimore lands, there’s a flurry of activity and 8 other jacketeers to meet! And would you believe it – another Australian! Whoooo, represent!! I meet Susan (um, celebrity alert?) and we all talk about fabric choices, guided by her expertise.
Alice, the shop’s 3rd generation proprietor (and character extraordinaire…) has a ‘killer’ (in joke) eye for a good match. It’s a riot just to watch her from the other side of the room! The woman is outrageously flamboyant and a has an eye for a good match.
After lunch we all head to M&J Trim in the garment district to find buttons and trim to match our fabrics – the choices seem endless but Susan manages to help each one of us find something to really make the fabric shine.
I picked out a fabric from Mendel & Goldberg’s last season of fabrics, and unfortunately Alice didn’t have anything left in stock to match from the Northern Hemisphere’s summer silks collection!! Although to be fair, my hip-pocket was pretty happy about this. So I made a quick mad dash to B&J’s (not that I minded – that place is my own personal heaven) to get a solid silk charmeuse to match and a really, really lightweight cotton batiste to underline my boucle fabric with. This is highly unusual apparently (the underlining) – but my boucle is so lightweight that it’s actually see-through…
And here’s what I end up with – Chanel Haute Couture (I haven’t hunted down which year or collection as yet) which has a greyish white base with lots of sherbert-y orange and lilac, a matching lilac charmuese, an off-white beaded trim with an orange velvet ribbon (not sure on that yet) and some bling-y buttons:
Then it’s time to settle in for the long drive back to Baltimore and the chance to chat and get to know the other Jacketeers – many of whom have already done this class multiple times. I check in to my serviced apartment down the road from the Khalje carpet gallery where we’ll be sewing – home for the next two weeks. Tomorrow the sewing starts in earnest…
When I first visited Susan Khalje’s website, I’ll admit I wondered why it was called the French Jacket Class and not the Chanel Jacket Class. Reading up about it online I got lost in a web of links (as you do), and discovered that back in September 2010 Chanel took out a full page advert in WWD magazine which went like this:
“A note of information and entreaty to fashion editors, advertisers, copywriters and other well-intentioned mis-users of our Chanel name:
Chanel was a designer, an extraordinary woman who made a timeless contribution to fashion. Chanel is a perfume. Chanel is modern elegance in couture, ready-to-wear, accessories, watches and fine jewellery. Chanel is our registered trademark for fragrance, cosmetics, clothing, accessories and other lovely things. Although our style is justly famous, a jacket is not ‘a Chanel jacket’ unless it is ours, and somebody else’s cardigans are not ‘Chanel for now.’ And even if we are flattered by such tributes to our fame as ‘Chanel-issime, Chanel-ed, Chanels, and Chanel-ized’, PLEASE DON’T. Our lawyers positively detest them. We take our trademark seriously.
Quite simply, they could sue you for using the
Lord’s Chanel name in vain. Many websites I visited talking about this ad had statements from Anna Sterba, an intellectual property attorney who reiterated that a trademarked name cannot be used as an adjective without the permission of the company that owns the trademark. From commentary online it appeared that this request was perhaps less a case of protecting themselves against Genericide and more about being able to prove in a court of law in the case of a trademark infringment that they were doing enough to protect their brand (thus giving credibility) before going on the knee-jerk offensive and brandishing their lawyers about the place.
So in keeping with this, I too will be refraining from using the C word. Instead, it’ll be the F word all the way… hehe