FASHION / Craftwork: Sometimes a flat surface just isn't enough . . the new hippie dressing has brought with it a new bunch of young designers who use traditional craft skills to make individual clothing

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Tim Dyer creates and embroiders fabrics for designers such as Koji Tatsuno, Antony Price, Bill Blass and Paloma Picasso. He works with each designer, producing material for their private commissions and shows. 'It's a bit like making things in your back bedroom, and then they appear on the catwalk in Paris. I don't like my work to be confined to just a surface decoration, because that can make it look like cardboard. I enjoy manipulating the fabric directly on to the body. Customers nowadays are willing to pay for a garment made exclusively for them and they take immense pleasure in that special knowledge that a great deal of time, love and thought has been put into it.'

Tim graduated with a BA in textiles from Nottingham Polytechnic in 1988. 'At my degree show I was asked to design a collection of bags and rucksacks for a shop in Nottingham and commissions snowballed from there.'

After meeting Koji Tatsuno in 1991, he was commissioned to produce a third of the fabrics for Tatsuno's show last October. 'Embroidery is an umbrella for every technique including knit and print. Allowing the textile side to develop is a natural progression for me.' For Tatsuno he has produced lace effects using invisible-mending thread over silk chiffon. The dress (right) is made to order, pounds 1,800, from 28b All Saints Road, W11; thongs from The Bead Shop, 43 Neal Street, WC2. Tim Dyer: 071-226 1095.


The New Renaiscance set up as a collaboration two years ago after the four members had left the Royal College of Art. Their work includes costumes and sets for film and television as well as shop-window design and clothing. Harvey Bertram-Brown (above, with Carolyn Corben) specialised in fashion design; Carolyn did embroidery and textiles (the other partners are Sophie Harley and Felicity Jury Cramp who do jewellery and metalwork). The wings were part of an outfit for a glamorous angel for a sequence for BBC's TV Heaven. The dress was made of sequins and there was a halo made out of TV aerials. The gloves have Carolyn's trademark filigree lace-work embroidery, combined with etched metal.

'We are modern-day crafts people,' Harvey says. 'But we use very traditional skills and techniques. By our collaboration though, we have pushed the boundaries further.' They designed Harvey Nichols's Christmas windows (using mermaids with working mechanical parts) and their hand-crafted Botticelli 'Venus', made for a televsision advert, is being screened at the moment.

'Crafts in Performance', a touring show that includes the angel costume, is from 22 March-24 April at Leeds Metropolitan University Gallery. The New Renaiscance: 071-266 2536.


Peter Keay designed the origami waistcoat, and works from Tom Gilbey's Waistcoat Gallery, where he rents a studio. 'Somebody advised me to call Tom Gilbey at my degree show (he gained his MA last July); I went to see him, and since then, I've slowly built up my working relationship with him. Now I'm in the position of having continuous orders.

Since Christmas, we've had four lots of orders just from Harrods - all women's evening wear. For the gallery, we have a made-to-measure service - I recently did one waistcoat with dolphins for a guy who was going to an underwater party.

'I've always been interested in embroidery, which I suppose is quite unusual for a guy. It's a creative thing. Print was too flat and didn't offer enough. I felt the need to raise surfaces.

His techniques are varied. He has a basic sewing machine and also hand-stitches. The waistcoat photographed was part of a range inspired by oriental armour - 'I wanted it to have a feeling of the Samurai. Origami was an idea that came from that.'

The waistcoat is made of raw silk and black ottoman, with metal beading, pounds 350; white canvas trousers, pounds 125, by Joe Casely-Hayford, from Jones, 13 Floral Street, WC2; Cruise, Glasgow; leather thong and glass bead, from a selection at The Bead Shop, 43 Neal Street, WC2. Peter Keay can be contacted on 071-434 9123.


Debbie Gonet designs and embroiders shirts, scarves and waistcoats like the one photographed above. 'The waistcoats are mainly applique and embroidery done by machine, in silks and velvets; the shirts are in silk crepe de Chine or silk georgette embroidered on a soluble fabric, so you are left with areas where just the threads remain and the overall effect looks like lace. The scarves are embroidered crepe de Chine which I dye myself as well as long velvet scarves and long georgette shawls. There are cushions done in the same technique as the waistcoats.'

After graduating from the Royal College in 1990, she started working for Georgina Von Etzdorf, producing woven scarves, embroidering hats for Fred Bare and shoes for Emma Hope. But she missed producing and making the garments herself, so she decided to set up her own business two and a half years ago with the help of the Enterprise Allowance Scheme. Now her work is being ordered in London by shops such as Browns.

'The way my work is evolving, I'm going to have to start just doing the embroidery and get somebody else to do the rest.'

Embroidered waistcoat, pounds 250, to order by Debbie Gonet (081-968 7481); patchwork trousers, pounds 75, from branches of Jigsaw; nubuck and wood mules, pounds 49, from Whistles, 12 St Christopher's Place, W1, and branches.

(Photographs omitted)