Industrialized Studding

This micro studded effect, as I mentioned before, is probably one of my favorite forms of garment decoration. Going through the comments it seems like the Versace post brought up some really great points about decoration that I actually agree with, but that doesn’t mean we can’t love what we sometimes rationalize as mindless. And I will now have to get my hands on a copy of that Adolf Loos book, but I have a feeling that the book will just reiterate thoughts that I already have on ornamentation..meaning..I’ll most likely agree with Loos. But… isn’t ornamentation worth it if your eyes are simply dazzled by the effect?

Designs below by Laurence Dacade, Alaia, and Versace.


I still adore this burberry leather trench- the other studded jackets from that burberry collection were really ugly to me, not a huge fan of Burberry in general but this leather trench is perfection. I love that it’s such a classic design, but it’s amped with these gunmetal studs. Again I like the gridded pattern, the uniform look of the studs.


Booties by Alaia, gosh, so gorgeous.


When I was in Italy there were several hours of painful conflict at the Lineappelle trade show. I had been looking to put this micro studded look into effect for my own designs, I’ve had so many ideas for it for about a year now. But there is no way in hell I’m going to make a gridded template and stud these tiny prongs one by one. I have important things to do… like eating and sleeping… Anyway, I briefly mentioned in the previous post about these studding plates. Each of these are very expensive, but still reasonable and they make that micro studded effect possible. The unreasonable part is that you need a huge machine (it’s almost like 5x5x5 ft and unreasonably expensive) to insert these template stud plates to press down all the prongs so that it hits the leather, suede..or whatever material you are working with. But with these plates, that micro studded effect is possible and the finishing looks great. Each stud needs to be placed into those little globular ditches and then on top of that you place your leather down and then you press. It is hard to find any great machines in New York because we make/produce nothing. Nobody needs machines because nobody wants to make anything. It is getting even harder to find reasonable sources for production. The workmanship is mostly terrible around here, and when it’s good, you have to pay an arm and a leg to get things produced. It makes me sad, and everyone else should be too because this is just a small example of why our economy is so bad.

Some samples from the press machine. Excuse the bad quality, they were taken with a defunct iphone.


Life would be simple if all you needed were these plates. No, you need a huge machine to actually get these plates working. This is just a template, it doesn’t work on it’s own. Each of the caviar studs are placed into the holes.


You can either place the studs in all the holes for a uniform effect, or you can tape off sections of the template and create another kind of design. You can see in the back of the photo on the right they sort of do this. That way you block off any space you don’t want to stud. And there are examples of some shoes, these plates are great for shoes because you don’t need so much surface area.


Pattern on the right is the same kind of grecian design motif that Versace used in his fully studded outfit.


Now, on the opposite end of the spectrum, there is decoration through negative space. There is no other designer I can think of besides Alaia when I think of Leather filigree or leather cut-outs. He does this kind of work in almost a mathematical way, even when it comes to his clothes. There is always a peekaboo or cut out effect with his garments that I love. It’s most often used in the seams.



ALAIA - perforated leather basket tote

Of course no one is sitting around for hours with an exacto knife and cutting out little holes just for alaia. This kind of workmanship would only yield sloppy results. Designs are made and then you can manufacture plates with your own designs stamped in them, so that the cut outs can be produced in one shot. You just press down with the machine and bam, your designs are cut out simultaneously. These die cuts are used for bag patterns as well, so that producers don’t have to cut out patterns with a scissor. Because leather is floppy and moves around a lot, cutting it with a stamp is much more accurate than going around the pattern with a scissor. Alaia makes everything on his own, but of course he is sourcing this kind of work elsewhere. Even then he has such a close relationship to the process of making that his clothes are in a league of his own.


These are actually for shoe tops, for sandals and things, but the process is the same. With money and access, you have the liberty to do such things, but it doesn’t necessarily make you a great designer. The best ones out there right now do more with less, but I’m just saying, it’s still pretty to look at.