I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way—things I had no words for. —Georgia O’Keeffe
In geometry, a square is a regular quadrilateral; it has four equal sides and four equal 90-degree angles.
A square is also technically a rhombus, a kite, a parallelogram, a quadrilateral, and a rectangle.
Squares signify stability. They are sturdy shapes that suggest familiarity, safety, and honesty. Their straight lines and sharp corners represent order and rationality. The uniformity of a square signifies equality.
Squares can also suggest rigidity or hardness.
In people, a square is understood as someone uncool or boring. Not so in design. We like both kinds of squares.
They are the most common shapes among man-made objects – from architecture to book pages.
Ochre: a natural earth pigment containing hydrated iron oxide
Vermeer used ochre extensively when painting flesh tones.
Ochre is the color of harvest, of autumn wheat, and heavenly bodies.
Gold Leaf: gold that has been hammered into thin sheets
The golden bough, sought by Aeneas to protect himself as he journeyed into Hades.
And here: the golden tree of life at London’s Whitechapel Gallery.
Today, see Chinese artist Zhou Xiaoping collaborate with Aboriginal artist Johnny Bulunbulun. Ochre and Ink and rice paper, a cross-cultural experiment in art and process.
Our Arella Top – a selection from Collection #29
With our newest collection, we are introducing garment styles new to the Alabama Chanin wardrobe. Perhaps the most notable new addition is the Half Skirt. Similar to an apron, it wraps around the body and is secured with a waist tie.
The intention of the Half Skirt is to add variety to your wardrobe with just one piece. You may choose to wear two of these pieces together in a combination of ways or layer one half on top of your favorite dress or skirt. Either way, there are many options for mixing and matching patterns, prints, and colors or creating volume. You can add a highly embellished piece to a casual garment to create a more formal look.
Or, as is the case with our Shelby Skirt, you can layer a skirt on top of another piece to add pockets for increased functionality.
Our new collection currently includes 9 Half Skirts in various colors, patterns, and styles. Here are some of our favorite ways to style them. Shop our selection of Half Skirts and our entire Collection #29 here.
This week, we are pleased to launch Alabama Chanin Collection #29—with never before seen garment styles and stencils. Natalie has been working for many years to grow a talented design team that understands our company mission and helps advance the design story we tell with each collection.
The garments are presented in four main colors—Natural, Black, Ochre, and Peacock, the latter acting as a continuation of our Indigo Blue color story. We drew inspiration from graphic design and interiors as we created the patterns and design motifs. The new, prominently featured Tony stencil was inspired by a vintage book cover; another new embroidery motif—Dots and Dashes—was inspired by an antique wallpaper pattern. The entire collection reflects this same design approach.
We are also employing new techniques—continuing the hand painting technique used in our one-of-a-kind Indigo garments and introducing a new triple-layered technique, a sort-of double-negative reverse appliqué, inspired by a South American textile technique. For the first time, we are introducing garments made from organic French Terry. We have worked with our supplier in North Carolina to ensure this fabric meets the same standards as our organic cotton jersey and are excited about the results.
You will see new styles introduced, including an updated corset, more jackets, and new takes on our popular poncho. These garments are designed to help expand and diversify your wardrobe by just adding one or two new pieces.
Look for highlights of our design process, inspirations, and new designs very soon…
Indigo – electric, deep, light, or tropical
Indigo can be bright, violet-blue, midnight blue.
Electric indigo represents the sixth chakra—the Anja—that includes the third eye.
It is the color of intuition and self-awareness.
Today, the New Leaves stencil + layers of indigo of the Indigo Shell Top made me think of this:
A creation of Miya Ando: a representation of the bioluminescent bays of Puerto Rico.
Phosphorescent leaves floating on a pond, lighting up the night with a dreamy, radiant blue glow.
More one-of-a-kind Indigo pieces have been added to our current Collection.
Once our garments are born and leave the nest, they have rich lives. At least that is what we hope—what we believe. We work hard to design and construct pieces that will last for many years and become heirlooms, passed down from one generation to the next. For owners of Alabama Chanin garments, it’s common that the garments are integrated into their lives for years and years. In celebration of this sentiment, we decided to highlight garments from our archives—and, where possible, to follow their journeys and see where they have landed.
My closet seemed the natural place to start, and so we begin with a very personal dress from my life:
Project Alabama Garment #5387
Built in August 2002
Pattern: A-67 Slip Dress (18 pattern pieces)
Stencil: 116 Star Flower
Fabric: Recycled T-shirts in shades of Navy
Seams: Outside Felled
Owner: Natalie Chanin
In April, I traveled to Chicago to lecture at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. While there, I spent some time at the Art Institute and found great inspiration from the works displayed in their galleries. (For someone who has been considering scale and texture quite a bit lately, Elena Manferdini’s exhibition gave me plenty to think about.)
I immediately felt connected to one of the Georgia O’Keeffe paintings, which took me back to 2012 when Alabama Chanin hosted a Weekend Away Workshop in Taos, New Mexico. The workshop was held at the Mabel Dodge Luhan House, and I slept in the very room that Georgia O’ Keeffe stayed in some 60 years ago.
With the addition of our in-studio dye house, we continue to experiment with and expand our indigo offerings. Our indigo vats are producing colors richer and more beautiful than we ever imagined, and we have added custom, hand sewn garments and hand dyed, one-of-kind pieces to our existing collection.
Today we launch our newest explorations in indigo.
P.S.: Learn to indigo dye here and find our favorite shoes in a shade of indigo here.
P.P.S: Visit our newly updated A. Chanin + Essentials section on AlabamaChanin.com to find our A. Chanin machine made line, Basic hand sewn garments (in new colors), and accessories.
Love this shot of the Peasant Top from our last shoot with Rinne Allen. Be on the lookout for new additions to our current collection in the coming month…
The phrase “working mother” is redundant. –Jane Sellman
Time always seems to get away from us—just have a look at our April calendar. It’s been busy at Alabama Chanin (and at home, and on the road).
It’s less than three weeks until Mother’s Day and a few of our favorite items from the Mother’s Day Gift Guide (plus a couple of new pieces) are in-stock and ready to ship.
Celebrate working moms (of all types).