Private view of textile art in clothes and for interiors
San Francisco will be the first place where we are conducting an exciting experiment – presenting a collection in the environs of a private home where people can actually see the nature of our textile art and buy if they have a passion to own something that is very rare in this day and age when most things are mass produced, cloned and disposable. Our work has guaranteed provenance, it is timeless in style and therefore sustainable – qualities that are rare these days. We can tell more people about this than would previously have been possible because the internet has opened up a whole new world, especially for tiny businesses like ours. We no longer have to rely on the fickle nature of store buyers to get our creations to the people that want to wear or use them to add that special touch of luxury to their lives and homes. Clothes, as art, can identify a person’s individual nature far better than anything because we carry such art with us.
Our on-line shop http://charlespatricialester.com is very different from most others in that we show individual pieces that are for sale – or as examples of what can be ordered specially – choosing colour, print etc. thus making it unique to the customer.
We are now exploring other ideas for marketing directly to people as well as through the those rare shops that understand the concept of customisation. Affiliate marketing is to be ventured into in the future, but for the moment we are experimenting with ‘private view’ ideas.
The very first of these is to be in San Francisco – the co-ordinator for this event is Sheila in Berkley in the San Francisco Bay area – telephone number: 510 540 0855
The collection in San Francisco will consist of our signature hand pleated silks, and sumptuous devore velvets together with some new hand marbled silks. Garments can be purchased from the collection or orders placed if variations of colour, size etc. are required. And to add an extra touch of the exotic there will be beautiful pieces of ‘serious’ jewellery, selected by Sheila, to complement the clothes.
What makes our work unique is the fact that someone can contact us directly and talk through their ideas on colour and shapes that would be most suitable for their individual figure.
Unique couture evening wear
Jacket in hand painted and hand pleated silk delicately beaded to give weight and movement
Back view showing the delicately toning beads that give weight and fluid movement to the jacket.
Luxury summer silks for wedding celebrations
Dress in hand marbled silk georgette with little cropped jacket in hand marbled crinkle silk
The lime green hand marbled silk georgette dress worn with a light weight summer coat in satin painted with abstract swirls of lime and green.
Back view showing more of the hand painted satin fabric – a real art to wear piece perfect for the opera or for an art gallery preview worn with simple silk trousers and cami top.
The dress – fine hand marbled silk georgette over a silk lining – perfect for those warm summer wedding parties.
Wearable art in hand painted silks
A dramatic summer opera coat in satin painted with abstract whorls in hot orange – worn over a hand marbled crepe back silk satin evening gown.
Glamorous evening collection
Simple velvet bias cut dress with a transparent organza Kimono printed with silver
Mother of the bride special outfits for plus size
Evening coat in luxury hand painted velvet devore
Pleated evening coat in hand pleated red silk
During the 1980s and 1990s our unique clothes were sold very successfully through stores in America – like Barneys, Bendels, Bergdorf Goodman, Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom etc. and some very special boutiques scattered around the country. Never in large numbers of pieces, except for areas such as the artisan department of Bergdorf Goodman, Obiko in San Francisco and Libertys in London, but enough to sustain a very small and totally independent business such as ours here in Wales.
The Orient Express magazine showing a model wearing a pleated silk dress and devore coat with a wall hanging behind inspired by the fires of the burning oil wells in Kuwait.
Victoria and Albert Museum London – Fashion in Motion series of lectures
In the early part of the 21st century – the world turned topsy turvy and suddenly our complacency was shattered as one by one the stores all began to follow the same route of high profile, celebrity endorsed and mass produced ‘brand’ names. Anything unique and creative was gradually dismissed from their inventories. Our last remaining ‘bricks and mortar’ store – the very famous London emporium ‘Harrods’ decided to close their plus department, which was the only area where they would carry the collection.
We have occasional forays into the world of film – the most recent one making a copy of a Fortuny dress for the Russian supermodel Natalie Vodianova who is taking the lead role in the film ‘Belle du Seigneur to be released later in the year 2012. This was quite a challenge because not knowing anything about this artist’s work until we were asked to add a number of our pieces to those of Fortuny in an exhibition in Milan. I was far too interested in comparing the pleating (which is in fact very different with ours being more fluid and sensual) and at the time I did not have the sense to examine how he put the garments together, so I had to try to get my mind-set into how he might have got his sewing ladies to structure the pieces. Several experiments are now in the ‘costume section’ of the on-line shop as ‘honest’ copies.
Helena Bonham Carter – “The Wings of the Dove”
Now, at our age, we are grappling with the whole 21st century culture of marketing through the internet. This has opened up the entire world again and excitingly we are meeting people ‘virtually’ who used to buy our work from the stores, now finding us and delighting in their on-line purchases. A major thing that we have discovered is that people are still loving and wearing garments that they bought 20 – 30 years ago. This has given us a hint of why the stores could have lost interest in that what we create is timeless, beautifully crafted, sustainable and they do not fall to pieces nor do they fall into the fickle category of fashion (here today and gone tomorrow) – which, for the store, requires purchasing more things every year.
Now we feel differently about this – it is such a thrill when we get a letter describing what they have as their jewels. To enjoy something so much that it is worn at many special occasions is the complete opposite of what often happens – buy a garment for wearing to a daughter’s wedding, for instance, then pack it away in the back of the wardrobe never to be seen again until it goes to a charity shop.
What we do hear is how our garments are handed down the generations too – being treated as precious inheritance pieces – that is a huge compliment. And every now and then we get a request for the provenance of a garment that has been donated to a museum, these tease the memory a bit, but we can unravel the ephemera of the mind and find the key to the history of most challenging questions.