Another brief D.I.Y. fashion bite for you this week, this entry’s come somewhat later in the day than I would have liked. This is partially down to personal laziness and for that I’m giving myself a token slap on the back of the hand as we speak (as it were – or, perchance, as you read?). However, it was also a relatively late inspiration that spurred me on to attempt Miu Miu’s painted snakeskin shoulder bag. The reason? As we all know, big prints are back. What’s more, this baby grabbed me because it had an essence of handicrafts, itself, with hand-painted stars and a thin slick of blood red paint on choppy black snakeskin material.
High fashion looked to craft in the 1970s, or the “me decade” as it was dubbed by Tom Wolfe. Zandra Rhodes and Ossie Clark were featured prominently in British Vogue, as well as Barbara Hulanicki’s appliquéd works for her iconic Biba boutique. At the start of the decade, Bill Gibb, a designer known for his leather work, appliqué and elaborate knits, won the coveted 1970 designer of the year title. The do-it-yourself ethos resonated at all fashion levels as a sartorial embodiment of self-expression. I’ve drawn this comparison in earlier entries with the subtly different paradigm of economising that D.I.Y. fashion signifies today. It’s not to say that artistic expression – the free reign you have of knowing how to make anything you set your heart on – isn’t another factor in the current popularity of crafty fashion projects. The aforementioned handbag I took on in this entry appeared to be a nod to fashion handicrafts of yesteryear, if only in the choice of medium – an incitement to be independent and create a look on a home-made personal level. Well, it was Vogue magazine’s former editor-in-chief, Edna Woolman Chase who said “Fashion can be bought. Style one must possess” I like to think of said style as a second-hand faux snakeskin bag, a few fabric pains, a paintbrush, a palette knife and the merest smidgeon of creative ingenuity!
You will need…
A dark-coloured snakeskin shoulder bag – mine cost £4.21 with postage and packing from Ebay.
Dylon fabric paint at £3/bottle at John Lewis and Hobbycraft in red (dark fabrics paint), white and black
Three simple steps to a stylish snakeskin statement piece:
Use your paintbrush to cover your bag relatively thinly in red fabric paint – by that I mean with the snakeskin texture clearly showing through and with dark background masked by a red tint but still visibly dark.
Use your palette knife to construct the straight shapes of your stars and to fill them in.
Go around the edges of your stars with your white fabric paint and palette knife. My tip would be to make sure your paint is as runny as possible, dip your palette knife ensuring that you coat the edges generously with paint and wipe the sides on the edge of your pain pot, so that you’ve only got paint on the edge of your knife. That’s the best way to avoid smudging and unwanted mess. Also, if your white line runs slightly thin, as you streak along the edge of your star, so much the better – if you look closely, you’ll see this happens on the original.
… and there you have it!