Lionel Roudaut, a patternmaker and cutter, formerly with Jeremy Scott in Paris, arrives in Alabama to help with pattern development and production. Over the course of the summer, Natalie and Lionel design and develop the Corset. This pattern and style of dressing becomes one of the defining garment patterns of Project Alabama, Alabama Chanin, and, eventually, The School of Making.
When I arrived the first time in Florence Alabama, I felt I was catapulted into a Tom Sawyer novel. The look of the place was just as I'd imagined it, reading or watching about this region of the USA. Then I arrived at Natalie's house, a house built beside a barn. The contrast between New York was striking. The idea of drafting and producing clothes in this surrounding was mind blowing. I was waking up in the morning having a banana milkshake for breakfast then going to the living room where a drafting table had been set up for me. That’s where I brought to life, out of Natalie’s imagination, this improbable, now iconic corset shape t-shirt. It really worked! The construction was simple, but the cut was sharp. There was no opening. I remember Natalie being excited to try it on. Which she did. She just put it on just like a t-shirt. It just looked fab!
Learn more about The School of Making here.
Follow along in Lionel’s adventures @lio.rdt.
Slide 1: Editorial tear sheet from Italian Vogue Magazine featuring The Corset from the Alabama collection, photographed by Steven Meisel and styled by Lori Goldstein, photograph by Robert Rausch; “The Clematis Corset” worn in the Italian Vogue Magazine spread, photograph by Robert Rausch
Slide 2: Angie Mosier’s personal corset #9991, from the Spring/Summer 2004 Project Alabama collection; Amber Valletta wears the “Wrecked” Corset, Vogue Magazine editorial, “Vogue at Any Age,” by Tonne Goodman and photographed by Steven Meisel from August, 2001
Slide 3: Fall/Winter 2004 “Job Flowers Corset” featuring couching embroidery, stencil pattern designed in collaboration with Studio Job for Project Alabama, 2002, photograph by Reyes Melendez; “The MLK Corset,” embroidered with a quote by Martin Luther King, Jr.: “If you can't fly then run, if you can't run then walk, if you can't walk then crawl, but whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.”, Alabama Chanin, 2014, photograph by Robert Rausch
Slide 5: Lionel Roudaut and Natalie Chanin, “Night at Lovelace Crossroads,” photograph Paul Graves; Contact sheet of Lionel Roudaut and Natalie Chanin, “Night at Lovelace Crossroads,” photograph by Paul Graves