Those of you who've been following CasaSugar for a while know that I love the work of textile designer and artist Natalie Chanin. From her studio in Florence, AL, Natalie creates appliqued clothing and an interiors collection, runs workshops, and writes books, including Alabama Stitch Book, and her latest, Alabama Studio Style. Natalie recently invited CasaSugar readers to take a peek at her home in Florence, where she dreams up her designs and raises her daughter. Let's take a look at her beautiful home!
I've been a long-time fan of textile artist Natalie Chanin. The Alabama native left her successful career as a costume designer and fashion stylist in New York to return to her hometown of Florence, AL, where she creates fantastically intricate appliquéd textiles for the wardrobe and home. While her first book, Alabama Stitch Book, focused on pattern-making for clothing and some home decorating projects, her latest, Alabama Studio Style ($35), is more of a lifestyle book.
While the book shows you how to create 20 lovely clothing and home décor projects, through the use of sewing, stenciling, and beading, there's much more to be found in its pages than straight projects. Recipes abound, as do in-depth stories of how and why each endeavor should be attempted. And there are plenty of delicious recipes to explore as well, including Put-Up Tomato Tart and Greens & Pot Likker. The book takes you deep into the Alabama Studio world, and for the first time ever, I find myself interested in making a trip to visit the state of Alabama. Natalie Chanin's book is beautifully photographed and written, and the projects and ideas she shares create a vision of a rural village that is thriving with both creativity and community. Check out a few photos and projects from Alabama Studio Style below!
>> Last night, with the help of keynote speaker Alber Elbaz, who doled out gems on the perils of success — "It's like a bottle of perfume. You smell it, you don't sniff it or drink it" — Alaia veteran and Michelle Obama favorite Sophie Theallet took home the 2009 Vogue/Fashion Fund prize of $200,000 and a year of mentoring. Fellow nominees Patrik Ervell and Monique Pean were named runners-up, and received $50,000 each plus a business mentor.
In her speech, Anna Wintour said that in addition to the US, Italy, and the UK — which just started a similar talent-nurturing program — she just met with the French minister of culture about mirroring the contest there. "And Brazil, India, Russia, and China aren't far behind."
"The money and the mentoring will help Ms. Theallet because she needs to be able to offer more range in her collection, as well as expand her production options. She has such a distinctly feminine eye, and the skills, that I’ve often wondered why a big retailer doesn’t ask Ms. Theallet to design some blouses and summer dresses for them, using the store’s resources and manufacturing connections."
Although we mentioned the star-studded cover story, our personal favorite sitting from the November issue of Vogue, on newsstands today, is that introducing the ten 2009 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund finalists.
Today Vogue.com has interviews with each of the 2009 finalists—Sophie Theallet, House of Waris, Ohne Titel, Wayne, Esquivel Shoes, Monique Péan, Gary Graham, Spurr, Patrik Ervell, and Alabama Chanin. “We had very strong applicant pool this year, particularly among the jewelers,” said Vogue's Anna Wintour in a statement. “The ten finalists we selected are a talented, diverse group, who are building healthy independent businesses in challenging times.”
The winner, who will be paired with an industry mentor and receive a $200,000 cash prize, and two runners-up will be announced at an event on November 16 in New York.
Alexa Adams (left) and Flora Gill with artist Tauba Auerbach.
Source: Norman Jean Roy/Vogue
The CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund top-10 nominees have been announced and it's filled with major talent. The wide range of genius includes eco-conscious creators, Monique Pean and Alabama Chanin's Natalie Chanin, edgy designers Flora Gill and Alexa Adams of Ohne Titel, and even men's footwear extraordinaire, George Esquivel for Esquivel Shoes — stiff competition! The chosen one and two runners-up will be announced at the annual gala on Nov. 16. The prize? Cash and mentoring from the industry's crème de la crème.
(L-R: Ohne Titel, Alabama Chanin, and Sophie Theallet)
To see who else made the cut, read more
>> This year's ten CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund finalists have just been announced — they range from the eco-conscious (Monique Pean, Alabama Chanin) to cobblers (Esquivel Shoes) to straight-up womenswear designers (Sophie Theallet, Wayne, Ohne Titel, Gary Graham). Anna Wintour noted, “We had very strong applicant pool this year, particularly among the jewelers" — here's looking at lucky jewelry nominees Pean and House of Waris. The winner and runners-up, who are bestowed with cash prizes and industry mentorship, will be announced Nov. 16 at the annual gala.
While I've featured Alabama Chanin before, the design company's site has beautiful new interior pictures that I thought were worth reflecting upon. Alabama Chanin, the collection of designer Natalie Chanin, features clothing and interior decor pieces that strive to be as environmentally sensitive as possible. Organic cotton, natural indigo dyes, and US-made products are all part of the line. The interior collection offers limited-edition pieces for the home that emphasize upcycling. Natali calls the collection "Alabama Studio Style." Right now, Alabama Chanin's collection includes home furnishings as well as decorative pieces.
To find out more about the interiors collection, read more
Cameron Diaz's Oscar de la Renta dress, which she wore at the Women in Film Awards, reminded me of another beautiful lady who's fond of appliqué and reverse appliqué. In fact, this designer marks them as signature techniques in her fashion and home décor lines. I've featured her work a few times in the past, along with her inspiring book.
To find out who the designer is, read more
Seamstress, designer, and author Natalie Chanin is something of a virago — and I mean that in the most positive sense of the word. Indeed, she is a woman to be reckoned with. With her newest venture, the Alabama Stitch Book ($35) she takes you further into her world, sharing stories of cotton production, growing up in rural Alabama, and the family tradition of embroidery. Of course, Natalie's take on embroidery is decidedly modern. Whether she's showing her readers how to create a cotton jersey layered corset shirt or instructing them on how to embroider a postcard, the book's tone is always personable, knowledgeable, and approachable. I read the whole book in one sitting, and then immediately started listing projects to start in on, since there are numerous patterns and instructions included in Alabama Stitch. You can buy the book here, and I highly recommend you do. It's been one of the most delightful reads to cross my desk in quite some time.
It's almost Oscars time, so you know what that means? Diamonds galore! Phillip Lim, Rodarte, Libertine, Jovovich-Hawk, and Alabama Chanin have all joined forces with the Diamond Information Center to celebrate Oscars fashions by creating one-of-a-kind red carpet looks incorporating diamond pieces.
All the gowns, including Rodarte's (left), are currently on display at the Chateau Marmont in LA — today is the last day — so if you're in the area, stop by and report!
If all this Oscar talk is getting you excited for Sunday be sure to tune in to the Sugar network's online Oscar party! Myself and Bella will be doing our always-fun love-it or hate-it polls and Team is hosting a live chat — stop on by!
To hear more about the specific dresses and to see photos, read more