Alexander Girard Collaboration
A whispered DRAMA
“Art is only art if it is synonymous with living” – Alexander Girard
Originally from Grosse Pointe, Michigan, Christina Liedtke is the Founder and Creative Director of Christiana J. Paul, a luxury women’s fashion company located in NYC. Starting her line in 2007 as a custom couture company known for high quality and craftsmanship, refined details, and timeless and iconic styles, Christiana J. Paul has grown to become a ready-to-wear line offering women an artistically curated portfolio of garments.
In a recent collection, Ms. Liedtke was inspired to merge architecture and fashion by leveraging the breathtaking beauty of a house designed entirely by Alexander Girard from her hometown in Grosse Pointe, MI. The collection titled ‘A Whispered Drama’ is a poignant and relevant amalgamation of Girard’s architecture including the influences of midcentury design colleague Minoru Yamasaki and of recent contributors to the house, including Detroit design icon, Ruth Adler Schnee.
Merging Girard’s vibrant, colorful, and geometric patterns with the expressions of humanism found in Yamasaki’s whimsical and minimalist architectural designs, the collection’s purpose was to balance modern minimalism with spontaneity. The collection incorporates specific design elements of the exterior, interiors, and accents of the house. These elements come together to bridge architecture and interior design into an authentic, timeliness and romantic fashion collection.
Each piece has three distinguished foundational applications to bring to life the architectural relevance:
Patchwork: Each garment was designed in a patchwork style to represent an architectural ‘blue print’ or ‘floor plan’ which was considered the foundation of each design. This patchwork style demanded several layers of materials to be placed on top of each other to create the pattern, design, and weight of each garment.
Colors: The collection’s colors were inspired by the color accents and natural shades in and around the home. Specifically, the boldly colored glazed brick accent walls from Eero Saarinen’s General Motors Technical Center are used as either the primary or secondary colors and vice versa for the shades of ivory and grey.
Geometric Patterns: Each garment of the collection is inspired by the various geometric angles experienced throughout the house. From 45, 90, and 180-degree angles to various geometric shapes, the garments capture the uniqueness of these design elements reflected in the interiors.
One more characteristic is integrated into each design. The UNFINISHED edges and seams are equally important to this collection, but more important to the rich storyline acting as the emotional agent between Christiana J. Paul’s brand that encapsulates a story of love, the artists impetuous approach to lyrical and spontaneous notes, and the owners passionate embracement of the house.
Additionally, staying true to Liedtke’s custom couture expertise, the collection includes a couture gown titled the ‘Alexander’ gown that is inspired by Alexander Girard’s 1971 Love Heart made out of 4,652 hand cut hearts, 25+ yards of silk organza, and 350 man hours.
Each garment was visually, artistically, and carefully created to holistically blend an enchantment of worlds cascading an innovatively and architecturally sound approach to fashion design, hence ‘A Whispered Drama’.
These ingredients elevated the provocation into a storyline that, ‘a home is truly never finished without love filling the space between the walls, floors, and ceilings’, similarly that a ‘garment does not take on true and authentic beauty until a woman wears it’.
The Alexander Girard home that inspired Ms. Liedtke’s collection not only had a profound effect on the designers use of color and geometric shapes in fashion, but also propelled a book to written by Deborah Lubera Kawsky (the homeowner’s sister) with a foreword by Ruth Adler Schnee rediscovering the only surviving house designed entirely by Girard.