Calico’s assistant stylist, John Alves, gets the low-down on Selah D’or designer, David Chum! Join us at Calico’s Pop-Up this Tuesday night to meet David in person and preview the Selah D’or Spring 2010 collection!
How did you get into fashion design?
It’s something i’ve always wanted to do. I started drawing at a very early age and used to draw nothing but Disney-inspired ball gowns. I took one sewing class in junior high and learned how to sew a pillow. Then in high school I designed costumes for the theater company. The whole time I was teaching myself how to sew and drape. About a year ago I bought some pattern drafting books and figured if I could teach myself how to draft my own designs, then I’d launch my own line. So here we are today, Selah D’or is in its first year and it’s going very well.
Where did you go to school? What did you study?
I went to the Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University for fine arts. I was a multi-disciplined artist and worked in painting, installation, photography, etc. Name it, I’ve pretty much worked with it.
Tell us about the name Selah D’or…
Selah D’or is a play on the phrase “cellar door,” once cited by J. R. R. Tolkien as the most beautiful-sounding phrase in the English language. It’s got a lot of notoriety around it in that area of academics. I decided to split it up into something that would sound like a woman’s name. The word “selah” means “pause” in Hebrew – I think, it’s used in prayer – and “d’or” is French for “golden.”
What inspires your designs?
The starting point is always the female figure and how I can accentuate and compliment it. Like most designers, I’m trying to reinvent femininity. I like to take classic looks and make them more sculptural or add details to them. I’m inspired by old hollywood movies, like Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, 50’s and 60’s fashion, nature, history – my friends’ style! All the pieces from my fall 2009 collection are named after women who are close to me!
How do you intend women to feel when wearing your designs?
Confident, sexy, beautiful, comfortable, and the center of attention.
Describe your philosophy about the art of fashion.
The thing I love about fashion is that it’s very sculptural. It’s not complete until someone wears it, the body fills it out and allows gravity and pressure to do all the work intended by the designer to create the form. Then when the wearer moves about in his or her daily life, the garment interacts with the environment visually.
How would you describe your personal style?
I’m pretty simple. I like my jeans and t-shirts. I also love vintage pieces, flashy shoes. Everything is slim and fitted…long lines.
Tell us about your spring 2010 collection — What was the design inspiration?
I wanted to push my pattern drafting skills for this collection. The initial inspiration was insects and flowers which eventually led me to investigate Medieval and Samurai armor. These ideas translated into sculpted peplums and shoulders. The vibe of the collection is a little futuristic and very sculptural, but offset with feminine silhouettes, draping, and a soft color palette.
How far in advance do you work on your collections? What is the process like?
I like to plan 6-9 months ahead. The first thing I do is jot down random things that interest me at the moment, and various ideas for garments or motifs I’d like to be carried out. Then I sketch and sketch and sketch. Next, it’s onto the pattern drafting and the creation of a miniature muslin. This is where the pattern is perfected before it’s transferred into a larger muslin, fitted on a dress form or fit model, and finally sewn in the actual fabric.
If you could pursue any other profession, what would it be?
Architecture. Fashion and architecture are very very similar. There’s something there about how both mediums seek to create space, but also make space an object on its own.
What are your plans for the future of Selah D’or?
To just keep doing what I am doing. I’d like to eventually move into menswear, bags, and shoes – One thing at a time though.