Every building tells a story
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“It’s about the sense of proportion. It’s about the interaction between the landscape and the building. And it’s about what kind of girl will emerge from this landscape.” – Nicolas Ghesquière, Louis Vuitton
As you know, before fashion and textiles my background was founded in architecture, where I studied the design dimension of buildings and their interplay with expressionism and art. It’s very telling of the organic nature of my work that the wearable art I produce originates from such a creative space. While each design and sketch is intuitive, the DNA is most certainly rooted in architecture and the myriad possible interpretations of any building. My scarves are nothing if not a reflection of an interpretation, as with any art.
Art and fashion have forever been entwined. In the 1920s, Coco Chanel collaborated with Pablo Picasso (currently showing at the Tate Modern) when together they worked on costumes and backdrops for the Ballet Russes; Sonia Delaunay designed clothes and textiles in tandem with her vivid artworks; Yves Saint Laurent returned to art again and again throughout this career: drawing on the bold abstractions of the Modernist painter Piet Mondrian in 1965 to create a collection of six A-line dresses; he was forever fixated by Yves Klein’s blue; and, in 1980, created a couture collection after Henri Matisse’s cut outs. For good reason, the two creative forms need each other.
Similarly, Art and Architecture have always worked together to produce great insights and the current exhibition at the National Gallery really celebrates this. Monet and Architecture really speaks to me as an artist and puts the qualities of light, proportion, framing and dimension centre stage. As human creations, buildings say so much about our society, culture and the climate in which we live and will always be an endless source of inspiration for me. One of the many joys of being a London based designer is having this source of architectural inspiration on my doorstep.
I’ve always said that my designs are my art and the silk is the canvas, making my scarves veritable wearable art. Watch any fashion show under the creative direction of Louis Vuitton’s womenswear designer Nicolas Ghesquière, and one is struck as acutely by the drama of the show space as by the collections within it.
Ghesquière’s passion for architecture is well documented on his Instagram feed The lines of Beauty, which I’ve been enjoying, where he posts as many images of the buildings that excite him as he does new bag designs. “I like Brutalism, usually,” he says. “Minimalism and Brutalism.” As with his own designs, he’s drawn to modern and otherworldly structures, as well as the more nostalgic elements of futurist design. As for me, I’ve developed a very eclectic taste for buildings and design but find myself drawn to linear forms, modernism and 3 dimensional, industrial works such as some of Zaha Hadid’s boldest creations.
Of course, architecture will always be influenced by Nature and – just as the Fashioned from Nature exhibition currently showing at the V&A illustrates, some of my recent studio work is lightly influenced by nature. Follow my Instagram for stories on some of my latest ideas where I’ll be looking increasingly at the natural world.
In Art as in Fashion, boundaries are always there to blurred and rules exist to be broken. As I develop my next range, I intend to continue to blur, break, surprise and empower with each new design.