Few, if any, of the fashion flock ever discuss, contemplate or comprehend how a dress or article of clothing actually transforms from sketch to garment; clothes do not mysteriously morph from drawing or concept to reality. In today’s world of fashion there are so many so called designers or creative directors that actually do not have the skill set to go beyond pointing or possibly sketching, let alone draping. So now most large brands employ scores of people whose only job is to sketch or others whose job it is to work on or with actual garments. In years gone by the magical transformation from flat paper to cloth occurred “in the back,” the inner sanctum which was located behind the showroom space where sample makers and designers met on a daily basis to actually create.
Today’s focus is about Atelier Nicolas Caito whose profession and person is to literally make magic or in other words to take a designer’s sketch/idea and turn it into a unit of fashion reality. Have you ever wondered how Balenciaga, Capucci or even a brand like Hood By Air can create pieces that defy gravity, defy all logic or are just plain beyond the scope of one’s comprehension? Firstly, two of the three mentioned designers actually draped and sketched which surely goes a long way to creating wondrous fashion, but then there are those who haven’t the abilities to even accomplish one of those tasks which means you need a “toiliste” or translated to patternmaker. It is the patternmaker who actually interprets and creates from flat sketch or concept to an actual three dimensional garment while solving construction issues while remaining mindful of the intricacies of each particular style. The patternmaker is the one person who must be of the same mindset as the designer, if even for that moment during the design process; think of a translator at the United Nations and their import for conveying exactly what the speaker actually says.
The patternmaker (toiliste) is the sole person responsible for those jaw dropping runway pieces that will eventually grace the racks of some retail establishments. The patternmaker is a miracle worker of sorts and it falls upon them to make the impossible possible. For instance, if you look at Proenza Schouler from this past spring and you “oohed and aahed” about a seemingly amazing red dress, you might want to thank Nicolas Caito and his team for making that possible as the task of turning dreams to reality is what he and his team do on an everyday basis whether for Carolina Herrera, Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, Prabal Gurung, Jason Wu, J. Mendel or The Row and that’s just to name a few. It is Atelier Nicolas Caito that is the sorcerer or voodooist of fashion who has the vocabulary and skill sets to pull rabbits out of hats and convert the fantastical into fact.
So, you might wonder what prepared a gentleman like Mr. Caito for the tasks at hand and you have only to read his resume which includes Hermes, Lanvin (haute couture), Rochas, Margiela and Blass. The man’s talents know no bounds and his well-honed abilities are the sort that defy his age and that is why he is a man in demand within the cognoscenti of fashion.
Next time you see a dress parade down a catwalk you might want to consider the genesis of the garment and not just the end result as a product from designer. In most cases said designer is only as good as his or her “toiliste.” Step up to the plate and take that extra step of actually considering more than just the immediate reflex of reacting to the finished product as what you see can tell a long story as to its path to completion.