Made to Measure

“you are an individual; so should be what you wear”

Whenever, I set out to write about a fashion designer, I try to tell you the most relevant information on the designer and the clothes. In this case it is hard to put into words the beauty and craftsmanship of the fabulous garments of de volk & gosche.

This past April I was invited to attend a fashion show at Hycroft Manor in Vancouver B.C. Canada. I was unfamiliar with the designer and didn’t know what to expect. Hycroft Manor is a splendid venue. This 1911 manor home is an incredible step back into the past. Hycroft Manor is run by the University of British Columbia’s Women’s Club and hosts a wide array of events. What I saw there has stayed fresh in my mind until today. In fact, it has become my latest fashion obsession.

Designer of de volk & gosche, Jennifer Kappler, recently said the following.

“I recently hosted a private show at Hycroft Manor in Vancouver for my birthday. The show was broken into two parts with different themes, yet they complimented each other. The first part was called “Café Paris” and featured a more daytime look with cropped boucle suit jackets and slim skirts and pants. The second half was called “New York Nights” and showcased flowing short dresses and full evening gowns. The overall vibe was a pastel, feminine take on jazz in the two cities around the 1950’s (think Eartha Kit’s “C’est si bon”).

Jennifer had me, with the first notes of that fabulous voice of Eartha Kitt. With my background in costume design and art history I was spellbound by a show that spoke so directly to my sensibilities. Jennifer Kappler is a modest, in some ways unassuming woman, however, she has found her voice and artistic expression through her designs. With some designers you listen for an explanation of their collections, in this case no explanation is necessary. What Jennifer puts on the runway speaks for itself. While her garments at first glance come from some other time, a second glance tells you this talented designer has brought these garments out of the past and into the present.

Influenced by her extensive travels, primarily in Europe, Jennifer’s first love was fabric. Nurtured by an artistic family, she first created children’s clothing that she sold on Etsy. Seeking further skills Jennifer enrolled in design school and learnt the expertise so evident today. Since then, Jennifer has studied in Europe, perfecting the techniques of embroidery, lace work, and other exquisite finishes.

The audience for this remarkable show at Hycroft, would be justified in thinking they had been transported to a Parisian salon. The models, worked to navigate the enormous staircase in an elegant manner worthy of the garments they were wearing. The first half of the program showed refined day dresses, suits, trim trousers with bustiers and more, all of them in pastel hues.

The “Cafe Paris” portion of the Hycroft show was an exquisite display of 1950’s inspired haute couture. The 1950’s are often referred to as the “Golden Age of Haute Couture”. By definition, haute couture means “fashion that is constructed by hand from start to finish, made from high quality, expensive, often unusual fabric and sewn with extreme attention to detail and finished by the most experienced and capable sewers, often using time-consuming, hand-executed techniques.”

The designs presented in “Cafe Paris” by de volk & gosche, were beautifully constructed. A pale green skirt and jacket was perfection, as if it was made for Grace Kelly. Both the jacket and skirt have cuff and hem covered with delicately crafted applique flowers in white beads and lace. It is these details and more that set these garments at the highest standard.

The second portion of the Hycroft show gave a look into the evening. The following quote tells you what you need to know about the design philosophy of de volk & gosche

The second half of the show was called New York Nights. With this in mind the dresses presented were perfectly suited to the models wearing them. Glamorous evening clothes are the type of purchases that a woman keeps for life. This is exactly why having a dress made for you is such a great idea. de volk & gosche is a go to for investment clothing, those special dresses for special events. There are many dressmakers but very few who can create a couture style dress that will take your breath away.

As we move forward into the next decade and approach 2020, the world including fashion faces some unique challenges. Probably one of the biggest is how to change the fashion industry so we create a more sustainable future. We can all try and do our part, one fabulous idea is to consume less fashion. Therefore, it behoves us all to make a personal effort, one of the most exciting ways is to create a personal wardrobe not built on disposable trends, but on personal style.

What gives you more personal style than a garment created for you, that will you will cherish. This classic garment will take you into the next decade and beyond. This is why my latest fashion obsession is de volk & gosche.

“Fashion is what we choose to express to the outside world. It’s a kind of armour. But you can on have the most power suits of power suits and people will notice if it doesn’t fit right. They see the gap in your armour. And let’s be honest. Not everyone looks great in everything. People have different length torsos, they have a longer neck or shorter legs. By creating a personalized pattern with a client’s own measurements, I help ensure their garment is going to fit them perfectly. It also creates more value for the client. Let’s say you’re invited to a wedding and need a new dress. You go to the store and you buy a dress for $500. You love the dress. You are excited about the dress. You arrive at the event and you see someone else wearing your exact same dress. You overhear she got it just yesterday on sale for $350. Do you still love the dress as much now? Probably not; your dress loses its value. Instead of being worth $500, you feel it’s worth $250. Your dress has lost value because it is not personalized.”

“When a client comes to me and says they need a dress for an event, the first thing I ask is how they envision themselves arriving at the event. Are they wearing a long dress or a short one or even something else like a pantsuit? Is it lace or sequins or with ruffles? What colour is it? Because when someone tells me they don’t really know what they want, the truth is to DO know what they DON’T want. No sleeves. Definitely no ruffles. And then we work together with sketches and fabric swatches to put together their perfect garment. Now when they walk in and people are complimenting their garment. They now feel their $500 was better spent; the dress has gained value in their mind knowing that no one else will ever have exactly the same dress. This is my guarantee to my clients. I will never remake a personalized garment for an additional client. They become like works of art; no two ever the same.”

– JENNIFER KAPPLER de volk & gosche,

In conclusion, I believe our fashion footprint should be bigger than our carbon footprint, our personal style is greater than any trend and custom garments are the future and a link to our past.

Ciao for now!

J.Andrew Jackson is a freelance fashion journalist and a fashion blogger. For more of his fashion insights visit him at: Dress The Part or follow him on Instagram. @jandrewspeaks @devolkgosche