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."
>> 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.
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