Caroline Delson ’13 is a female designer passionate about menswear. While menswear isn’t the haute couture most little girls have in mind when they think of fashion, with enthusiasm and creativity, menswear has become the perfect medium for Delson’s personality. After developing for four years with CFC, Delson now has the opportunity to present a full design collection that expresses her confident and mature sense of style.
A native New Yorker, Caroline took her first fashion course when she was 14. She says her passion comes from the variety of ways a person can be involved in fashion. “There are so many ways to stay with it forever.” Her excitement comes from seeing “how amazing it is to move from idea and 1-D and thoughts to this 3-D real thing.”
Her interest in menswear was sparked by a Cornell program run through the Portland-based wool company, Pendleton. “I’ve had always been curious about menswear. When I worked on that project I finally figured out that that was what I should be doing,” she said. As opposed to women’s wear, which can be crowded, “with men’s, there is a lot of room for experimentation.”
Caroline’s style of menswear is “feminine inspired.” “I think that the details are really important in menswear, and I think now I’ve found my voice and shape,” she said. She admits that “You’re toeing the line putting men in long shirts because it reads as a dress sometimes. I think that’s the kind of conversation that keeps coming up more and more in fashion, and I don’t mind being a part of it.”
Surprisingly, “putting a womens wear fabric into a men’s garment doesn’t look wrong. “I’ve been experimenting a lot this year. Maybe just because it’s the last time so I really feel free, but [I] kind of [like] putting women’s fabrics onto men, seeing how it looks, being happy with it, hearing boys say that it’s not the worst thing ever,” she said.
Her third menswear collection for CFC is called Club of Sons. Her inspiration comes from painters. Her aim is “outfitting the artist” at work. “I wanted to make pieces that … you’d put them on everyday and paint in them.” She based her pieces in “characters” like Austrian painters Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele. Klimt had smocks made for him with beautifully detailed shoulder embroidery, while Caroline used Schiele’s paintings for inspiration to paint on some of her pieces. In her opinion, the cornerstone of the collection are long shirts that are “boxy, wide, [and] smock-esque”.
She was also inspired by movies like Metropolis, The Master and Jiro Dreams of Sushi, whose pallet informed the creams, whites, midnights and indigos in the pieces of her collection and albums. “I think [the albums] in some weird way influenced the kind of process of this collection,” because she was listening to other artists’ full thoughts to create her own full collection.
Looking at her pieces, it’s clear that this is a “personal, nostalgic collection.” She put her own favorite things in the pieces like crosswords and quilts. “Giving all the pieces the personal touches makes me [feel] really connected to it, but I think it also influences what the customer is going to feel,” she said.
In its completion, her line is made up of nine looks and 27 pieces. She has canvas bags made with an actual crossword she created. All her models will be wearing glasses (“I like boys in glasses”). There are some snapbacks with hummingbirds across the brim. She used a variety of materials like knit, neoprene (used in wetsuits) and vinyl for raincoats.
Cornell has been a journey for Caroline. “My first year you have one look. Mine really wasn’t great” But she has used these four years to grow. Through her work on the E-Board, she’s been able to see CFC as more than just a place to showcase her designs. It has also been a way to find a community within her department and with the diverse group of people who participate in CFC, in one form or another.
Listening to Caroline, if I’m allowed to interject my opinion into this profile, what I find cool about her is that she has found a passion that she has turned into a career in which she isn’t limited in expressing her ideas. Her senior collection shows how effectively she has used her four years to grow into a confident person with a full idea of themselves and what they are doing. I believe this is something we can all take away from listening about her and seeing her work
Original Author: Meredith Joyce