The Art Of Handiwork: Two Designers Announce A Couture Collaboration

By Sarah Stallmann
In Style

The art of hand-craftsmanship is a passionate subject for many, most notably for two local designers who have announced an exciting collaboration. “It’s a labor of love,” says recent NYC-to-St. Louis transplant Victoria Cates on her upcoming collection release with fellow STL transplant, Dorothy Jones, owner of Cherokee Street’s Bespoke.

Photo by Alex Isbell

Photo by Alex Isbell

Although the pair have only known each other for a short time, they shared an instant connection once discussing their mutual crafts and love for the art of couture. Jones has years of experience that span from theatrical and commercial costume design in New York, to her busy custom clothing business, Bespoke, on the corner of Ohio and Cherokee. Cates took a chance on a move to St. Louis about a year ago, and while still experimenting with her place in the design world—her hand craft of choice is haute couture embroidery—she has already collaborated with a handful of St. Louis-based brands, including Ruby Francis and Living Collective.

Photo by Alex Isbell

Photo by Alex Isbell

Photo by Alex Isbell

Photo by Alex Isbell

Cates and Jones plan to present a 12-piece couture collection on April 29 in the form of an art installation that will take place at Bespoke. The duo is taking an organic approach as far as design, all of which are inspired by an abstract approach to sea life. “We are working a bit differently than one normally would when building a collection,” says Cates. “I’m taking the [embroidered] pieces I normally make and adapting them to work with and compliment Dorothy’s designs.”

“Each one causes the other,” adds Jones. “It’s also very important to us to show that the art of handiwork and couture is very much alive and well. It’s a passion for us to help people understand how couture beading and dressmaking still fits into everyday life.”

Photo by Alex Isbell

Photo by Alex Isbell

Photo by Alex Isbell

Photo by Alex Isbell

Photo by Alex Isbell

Photo by Alex Isbell

Jones and Cates can easily be considered perfect examples of the thriving—yet off the radar—manufacturing community in St. Louis that includes other entities like SKIF and Tiny Spools. “There is a grassroots mentality here that is so important,” says Jones, “I really feel passionate about my place here and think that the industry is going back to basics. That hands-on aspect is very compelling. It’s a very lovely process to create and collaborate on beautiful things.”

Plan to join Jones and Cates in celebrating the launch of their couture collection “Amare Elementorum” on Friday, April 29 from 6-9pm at Bespoke, 2650 Cherokee.

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