Demi-couture part 1 – Bottega Veneta

Time for a moment’s diversion from fabric posting.  I admit to a fascination with the fine details of fabric craftsmanship and have tried here and there to bring a few elements to my own sewing, with varying success.  But I always like to admire the work of others.

Bottega Veneta epitomises the demi-couture approach.


This was the place to pause and introduce Bottega Veneta, under the helm of creative director Thomas Maier, because when I handle a piece of silk georgette, as I did last post, I always think of the exquisite workmanship from these BV dresses from a few years ago.  There are layers of strips of self-same fabric, braids then embellished with beads all layered then brought beautifully together.  The detail is abundant but understated.


Beading, shirring, piecework, applique light beading.  The work that fascinates me the most here is the red garment in the middle.  The lace has been used as a stencil for the selective placement of painted black lace motifs, then the actual lace has been placed on top of this.  What an idea!

Fotor11030331So many more ideas in this group of images, from cut-away midriffs in the black and white dress above; repeating the flower motifs from the skirt up the bodice front; bias-cut tulle layering over a print fabric then embellished.  All so gaze-worthy.

This is the definition from one of the fashion dictionaries: Demi-couture is a French word and means literally translated “half-couture”. Or if you want a longer meaning, it’s “half-custom-made women’s clothing.” Demi-couture relates to the term haute couture, custom-made high sewing but is more classified under ready-to-wear in the fashion business.

To me this is one of the fundamental motivations for having a sewing existence – to bring some ideas and techniques to play in a garment that is completely singular in the world and an expression of your own creative sensibility.  There are some wonderful proponents of demi-couture from whom to take inspiration and I’m going to pause from fabric posting here and there to admire some of them.

Images from Bottega Veneta, Net-A-Porter, Far Fetch, Lyst

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