Detail inspiration: Geometric beading




I’m so in love with this geometric beading from Jonathan Saunders’ Spring 2011 collection. It has such an ethereal 1920s look to it. I think you could do something similar with applique or embroidery. But the soft colors and texture really make it.

(PS: Sorry if I’m wrong about this being beading. I seem to recall reading that somewhere, but can’t source it, so I’m not sure.)

ETA: According to the review at Vogue, it is beading.

ETA #2: G points out in the comments that it is more likely sequins, going by the similar close up shot on Vogue UK.

Sarai Mitnick   —   Founder

Sarai started Colette back in 2009. She believes the primary role of a business should be to help people. She loves good books, sewing with wool, her charming cats, working in her garden, and eating salsa.

Comments 19


I kinda think that it must be a larger fiber woven into the fabric or embroidered on. I don’t think that sheer soft fabric could support that many beads, especially that close together. and it would weigh a ton.

Diane @ Vintage Zest

Wow, this really is beautiful! I love that the 1920’s and art deco is finding its way into current styles. However, I’m still just a beginning sewer, so this would take me waaay too long to do. Perhaps I could attempt it with a contrast fabric, almost like a patch technique in a geometric pattern?

Also, too bad that they didn’t want to invest on a lining fabric because if someone walked by now, they would think I was staring at a girl’s crotch for some reason… :)


That’s stunning. I think it’s sequins.


Gorgeous! The effect is like a reverse burnout.


Look at the edge of the shapes, looks like a thick stranded embroider. Exquisite though, I love it!


I went to an exhibit of 1920s flapper dresses at the Chicago History Museum, so you’d be surprised how many have beading even at the hem. Yes, it weights down the fabric, and over time, ultimately destroys it. I was amazed at the great condition some of these gowns were in, but they on display for a limited time, precisely because of the weight of the beads on the gown. These gowns really shouldn’t be hung while in storage. Better to put it in a box, properly packed in papers that won’t harm the fabric.


I wonder if the fabric is hand or machine embellished.

It reminds me of Cleopatra’s (Liz Taylor’s) chiffon gown at the Hollywood Costume exhibition at the V&A. To me it looked like sequins and they were in Aztec-like squares around the sleeves and hem. Exquisite and hair-raisingly delicate. I’d shred it in an hour.


Zooming in…it is like a fine chenille. Whatever it is, it is lovely. Thanks for sharing!


Ok, found the source! According to Vogue, it is beading:

“Or with his beading, applied in a single band of interlocking geometric shapes on a palest beige chiffon dress […]”

I’ll edit the post to add the reference. If it IS beading, they must be very very tiny beads.


Even if they are the tiniest of beads, I don’t understand how they don’t drag this light and airy fabric down. Genius.


This is just beautiful! I have always wanted to know how to bead. That would be a great tutorial ;)


This dress is perfection!


That’s some amazing work, let there be no doubt about it! Positively drool-worthy!

Random comment – why aren’t models allowed to smile anymore? This gal looks like she’d have an incredible smile…but I know nothing about modelling, so who am I to question? It just strikes me that none of these ladies look like they’re enjoying the moment or the outfits at all anymore…or am I showing my age? :)


She does look particularly angry.

I think it depends a bit on the designer and the mood they want to evoke. I know I’ve seen Betsey Johnson models smiling, for example. But I guess the likely answer overall is that they want these ladies to be living hangers and don’t want facial expressions to distract from the clothes.

Victoria English

Be still my beating heart – the dress is sublime! It does look embroidered, but whateva, i’d happily wear it beads or not :)


It seems to be sequined. There is a close up photo on British Vogue’s website of a shirt that has the same pattern and presumably the same technique ( Plus, this wouldn’t be the first example of Vogue getting it technically wrong… ;)

That whole 2001 S/S collection from Jonathan Saunders was really lovely. I think Colette Patterns fans would appreciate looks #14, #15, and #16, but I find it hard to go past look #1 :).


You’re right, it definitely looks like sequins in the close up. Also, the model appears to have some sort of funny stick figure tattoo under her boob, which is kind of awesome.

Nelda SAnta

Lovely dresses!!!

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