“Fallen-angel kind of beauty” is how Marc Jacobs referenced the feathered and heavy petal looks akin to black swans in his fall 2019 ready-to-wear collection, which showed at Park Avenue Armory in February during New York Fashion Week.
For the latest fall collection, Jacobs tapped again into his super-considered, “attentive” design process with each look “an exaggeration of our view of who each of the women is,” Jacobs said during a preview, and as previously reported in WWD.
And this attentiveness behind the silk organza feathers and petals was aided by the handwork of the “last-surviving” artificial flower factory in New York’s Garment District: M&S Schmalberg.
Hanging in the workroom, amongst an explosion of color and boxes of flowers stacked ceiling high, was a silk organza remnant attaching recognition to the exact dress brooding across the lacquered black runway at Marc Jacobs.
The airy silken adornments appeared in nearly 10 looks from Jacobs’ fall collection, either compiling a full look as in the full trapeze-style black-and-white petal dress (to which M&S Schmalberg said its order numbered 5,500 petals). For this particular dress, the fabric was supplied by the design team at Marc Jacobs.
M&S Schmalberg, having been around since 1916, carries a story of survival and heritage as well as one of craft. One that caresses the interest of designers, or their teams, also bringing in fabric to realize their floral visions: including Reem Acra (fall bridal 2019), Carolina Herrera (resort 2017) and others.
On the red carpet, Marchesa worn by Scarlett Johansson or Rosie Assoulin (fall 2017) worn by Kiernan Shipka, are both at the hands of M&S Schmalberg’s factory workers who starch, cut, emboss and assemble pieces by hand.
As a testament to the history, father-son duo, Warren and Adam Brand run the day-to-day business operations. The diversity of orders includes everything from velvet butterflies for Amazon original series “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” to salvaging a bridal gown and turning it into a custom bouquet for another client. The fabric flowers have also been used to define the characteristic style of Sex & the City’s heroine Carrie Bradshaw, with bountiful brooches of artificial flowers.
As the only artificial flower factory remaining un-plucked from New York City’s Garment District, M&S Schmalberg continues to grow in the trimming and adornment space, embellishing the visions of designers, costumers, set designers and more.
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