Art dealer, curator and collector Seth Siegelaub saw the beauty and significance of a piece of cloth. A beautiful textile is not only inspiring and a means to spread ideas; it is also art. A portrait of one of the craft’s greatest fans.
Winter 2018 and Early Spring 2019 are all gold, glitter and sparkle. Which fashion favourites inspired the Summum design team this season?
Mention gold, and fashion people immediately picture Shirley Eaton, the Bond girl covered in gold in the 1964 Bond classic Goldfinger (no, unlike in the film, she didn’t really die of a lack of oxygen because her skin was covered with gold paint). They also think of the gold pineapples and palm tree lights popular at the time, now very much back in style. They see Marilyn Monroe in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953), wearing the iconic gold lamé dress designed for her by her main stylist William Travilla, and the gold-drenched J’Adore Dior ads featuring the stunning Charlize Theron. We think of the Pharaohs and the Incas, the Sun King and Beyoncé. As a symbol of divine light, gold makes everyone more beautiful. This season Summum Woman went to town with gold, including a fancy black velour bomber jacket decorated with gold brocade fern.
Blue Velvet… David Lynch’s 1986 cult classic starring Isabella Rossellini as the tormented nightclub singer in dark blue velvet, is what Elvis Presley is to blue suede. (Pop culture has also had its share of successes with fashion fabrics.)
Velvet has a ‘drama queen’ reputation because of its mysterious depth and seductive softness. The dense pile of the fabric catches the light and comes across as pale or dark with the temperamental unpredictability of a diva. From 1920s flapper dresses and 1970s conversation pits to Juicy Couture tracksuits, every so often the flirtation with velvet re-emerges as a trend and goes down a storm. Give in to the temptation of Summum Woman’s torn stretch-velvet 5-pocket jeans this winter.
‘Sheer’ means fine enough to be see through. A delicate fabric that suggestively reveals the body beneath is a great asset in the art of feminine seduction. Sheer fabric also played a surprising role in fashion history: during the French Revolution, the members of a fashionable aristocratic subculture decided to flout the stifling rules of the Ancien Régime by wearing fine muslin dresses like those worn in ancient Greece and Rome. The Merveilleuses (or ‘fabulous divas’) were the talk of Paris at the end of the 18th century. Even in our more open-minded era, sheer fabrics continue to cause controversy, with red-carpet celebrities competing to see who can wear the least the best ; a constant head-to-head between Rihanna, Beyoncé, the Jenner sisters and Bella Hadid.
Though we prefer to keep things really romantic with Bohemian-style dresses, tops and blouses, sheer features in the Summum Woman palette all year round. (Yes, even in the winter!)
All that glitters ain’t gold. Fortunately, we’re willing to settle for pretty much anything that makes life sparkle. Who hasn’t been captivated by the dazzle of sunlight on water? Lurex is a fine metallic gold, silver or brown thread that can be woven or knitted into just about anything from gossamer stockings to warm woollen knits. Summum Woman always likes a bit of glitter and glamour, but has really pulled out all the stops this winter with delicate disco knits, glitter collars, mini-sequins that twinkle in romantic mohair knits, gleaming mother-of-pearl polka dots and lace and – for Summum Studio – a luxurious lurex pinstripe. Special rock-chic coatings even add a unique glimmer to our Blue Daze denim collection.
Ruffles and pussy bow
The bow-tie ruffle top or dress is one of the all-time favourites of the Summum Woman design team. Inspired by the unashamedly romantic, high Victorian and Belle Epoque necklines with pussy bows, lots of ruffles and puffed sleeves, they are actually very versatile. Ultra-feminine and romantic, they can also be confidently combined with denim, suede and leather for a flattering nonchalant bohemian look. This winter the Summum Woman design team has worked bow ties and ruffles into abstract and animal print voile tops and dresses, lavishly lacy blouses and delicate disco knits.