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Design Inspiration from Tilke's 'Costume Patterns and Designs'

Design Inspiration from Tilke's 'Costume Patterns and Designs'

I have always taken an interest in the simplicity of designs from early cultural clothing. Max Tilke's book - Costume Patterns & Designs was a book I found in 1987 in Vancouver, a year after I returned from living in Japan. The then-famous and independently run Duthie Books on Robson Street, was a treasure to spend time in.  Wandering through the isles of Duthies one afternoon, I came across Tilke's Costume Patterns & Designs. When I first opened it I was profoundly mesmerized by the historical and traditional wear of different world cultures.  Having just spent about two years in Japan (and taking the 'slow boat' - literally - to China, which had only a year earlier opened up to foreigners!), it gave me a lot of cultural context for appreciating the book even more. 

The images are so beautiful!  I've had this book for all these years, since 1987 and recently took it down from the bookshelf to once again ponder it's contents and renew my inspiration.

I am drawn to it again and again for the same reason I was back then - the timeless simplicity of design that world cultures drew on for both their daily and ceremonial wear.  And on some - or many levels - it brings me back to the core of what I do and envision in my design work. I was so influenced by my time in Japan. The indigo! And then I realized how the thread of this amazing fabric played itself out in many other cultures. 

 A few other images from the book:

It was always the clothing made from indigo textiles that intrigued me, but the simplicity of the cut of all designs, which wasted as little fabric as possible, was part of the intrigue. Fabrics would been woven by hand and precious indeed. 

And another image...


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