Research: Diffusion Ranges

We were given the task of creating a diffusion range for our designer, and to be honest I had heard of the concept but I wasn't clear as to what a diffusion range offered, so I began my research online...

"A diffusion fashion line is the name for an accessible ready-to-wear line for the masses produced by a major designer who usual sells expensive couture. It all started when designers began creating diffusion lines of their own labels like D&G by Dolce & Gabbana and Gianni Versace’s Versace Jeans Couture. In the past few years, the new trend is for designers to create fashion lines for discount chains and department stores such as Vera Wang’s Simply Vera line for Kohl’s."

So it got me thinking about the pros and cons of diffusion ranges in terms of: style, price, fabrics, customer outlets etc before I design my own.

Here are some examples that relate to my designer, La petite Salope. I chose these designers because I like the way these ranges are not too watered down in terms of design keeping a real essence of the designer, which is what I want to create in my own range.


The Square Dress from Vivienne Westwood’s Anglomania label.
'The draped tailoring is stunning and very reminiscent of the gorgeous Vivienne Westwood navy pin strip suit that Carrie wore in Sex and The City to her lunch with boss at Vogue.
Perfect for day or night this is a great one piece for work.
Features include a detachable self tie waist belt, buttons to fasten the neck and a cowl neckline. Available for £270 from Net-a-Porter.

The pieces for this range are designed for everyday wear and are great for adding a bit of her iconic style to your closet at a more realistic price.

T by Alexander Wang
This diffusion range consists of cotton basics in 12 styles. Wang launched an online lookbook of the collection ranging from tanks ($28 wholesale) to T-shirt dresses ($40) — all cut in the designer’s signature languid style, with colors ranging from simple whites and heather grays to lavender, chartreuse and cerulean. “Necklines are stretched and armholes are strategically lowered so that it looks worn in,” he explains. “It’s like sleeping in a T-shirt and then wearing it the next day. It’s not this crisp little T out of the dryer. It’s draped and kind of wilted.”

Jean Charles de Castelbajac (JCDC)
The first JCDC collection is called Punkahontas and the Ducks. Jean Charles de Castelbajac JCDC range is made up of shirts, skirts and jacketsStarting from around $85 for a t-shirt.

Rachel Roy debuts in Macy's 
Rachel Roy's diffusion line is available in over 80 Macy's stores. The collection includes sportswear, footwear and accessories. Some items in the collection feature bright patterns and unique prints including a graffiti print that is featured on apparel, shoes and handbags. Items in the line retail from $59 to $299 for sportswear, $79 to $199 for footwear, $40 to $195 for jewelry and $69 to $109 for handbags.
"I'm always inspired by women I meet - how they dress, how they put outfits together," said Rachel Roy. "The art of fashion and seeing it come to life through personal expression and interpretation is a huge catalyst for me. Accessible fashion has always been a passion of mine and was a priority consideration in creating the Rachel Rachel Roy collection for Macy's. I chose to design the collection for the younger sister of Rachel Roy."

Role Play - 6 piece collection

While looking at all my research and design development I had a pretty clear idea in my head of what I wanted to create for my final pieces. 

While thinking of how I would present my collection I did start by drawing garments on figures, however I now understand that I should work to my strengths, and design in a way that helps me portray my ideas as best as possible.
So I began experimenting with some of my draping work and other inspirational images on Gimp.

This was my final outcome, and I think it reflects everything I wanted for this collection as well as keeping an essence of La Petite Salope (power women).
In these draped silhouettes I see:
  • a full-length semi-tailored coat at the far right.
  • linked to a draped cape covering the head and slouching over one shoulder.
  • third-from right: bustier with draped full length skirt.
  • middle: jacket with cool pleating detail near the bust with a veil/hood
I just found these really interesting and enough to inspire my whole collection.

So from this I took details to start creating front and back views in detail.

In Friday's class I presented these ideas to the design directors (members of my group) keeping the same name from my initial concept board 'Clothed With the Sun', accompanied by my colour/fabric board. 

I then showed them my technical drawings for the garments I was going to make.

Although I didn't really get much feedback from my peers in terms of altering things, I was asked some good questions about my final garments e.g. 'how are they going to get in and out of the draped piece,"
so I want to carry out more research on fastenings used for sheer fabrics and draped pieces. 
While looking at La petite salope's clothes from images it was difficult to see what fastenings they use, however on Julesb.com I saw that they use visible zips in the back of their dresses which are not seen in front-view images.
I, however don't find these aestheitcally pleasing so I'm going to look at more clothing,sewing/draping books etc. to see what would be most suitable for the look I want.  

I really found it useful to talk about my ideas out loud as I think it made it clearer in my head of what I wanted to achieve by the end of this project.


Design Developement

In fridays lesson I began my initial ideas by doing what I thought was the 'right' way to do design development, by drawing straight figures on a page...I didn't really find this technique too successful for me as a means of getting out quickly what was inside my head.

So I tried experimenting with a different medium, I used watercolours to create the flowing drapery lines from my stand work, bleeding colours together and playing with various brush strokes to evoke different fabrics and materials.


Draping: Design Development

Now that I had my colour palette I went to Shepherds Bush to find fabrics to start experimenting with on the stand. I came across this beautiful piece of multi-tonal polyester which reminded me of the gorges as the light reflected off it.

These were ideas i draped for the back of the garment...

For the tailored garment I experimented with more structured fabrics; wool and leather...