(École Supérieure des Arts Appliqués Duperré, Paris)
A couture workshop is reminiscent of a construction site, where things are constructed, built, assembled, and put together. The origins of my project are to be found in this analogy; it attempts to combine architectural techniques and stylistic codes with those of garment design.
The notion of construction present in both disciplines—garments and edifices—interested me. To illustrate this parallel I designed a collection that is to be built, constructed, or deconstructed, and put together by the customer according to their individual taste and imagination.
The garments in my collection are designed to be sold in kits that include precut and perforated elements that can be manipulated and assembled as the customer wishes with screws, rivets, and bolts. Depending on their individual creativity and patience each customer can create many different types of garments, from the most simple to the most extravagant.
My project proposes a new construction set, the purpose of which is to put garments together. It offers the tools to the consumer who then becomes the designer.
(Ryerson University, Toronto)
My design ideas are often drawn from ancient history and, in stark contrast, from industrial concepts. The two are then grafted together with innovation and quality workmanship. Romandin’s inspirations were the layers in ancient Babylonian engravings and Constant Nieuwenhuys’s “New Babylonian” architectural artwork.
The development phase started with fabric experimentation and color theory to achieve a better understanding of the abilities and limitations of the materials being used. Silicone caulking and plastic chicken wire were used in conjunction with silks, double knit jerseys, and Swarovski crystals.
Romandin was showcased at Ryerson University’s annual “Mass Exodus” graduation show in 2010: “In Bloom.” The collection was praised for its conscientiousness, wearability, and luxury.
DRY CLEAN ONLY
(École nationale supérieure des Arts Décoratifs, Paris)
This project began with a fascination for the atmosphere at a dry cleaners, and many interconnected images and thoughts formed the basis of its visual and conceptual inspiration:
Neon lights. White, blue, yellow. A clean hospital-like light. Colored papers, stitched to clean garments, with a bill and a name. The beauty of an untold dirtiness. Color is an accident, a sparkling point in all the beiges and whites. Plastic wrapping stresses the fragility of clothing. Garments are wrapped so that they do not touch each other. In one single room hang tons of different people’s clothes. Tons of clothes with no flesh in them. What if I want to mix them all? What if all those colors bleed? Mixing accidents to create a style.
Garments are named and numbered. Does professional care mean made with love? Clean shirts ready to go. I want to unfold them all.
DEATH IN A PINK CLOAK
(Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Antwerp)
My first inspirations were Baroque costumes, ornaments, fabrics, art, and colors. I then confronted the extreme richness of these elements with more primal influences—the representation of the Last Judgment or Apocalypse in Christian art, and the medieval crafts. Metalwork from this period inspired the accessories—crowns and jewels— of the collection.
My aim was to build up a structured silhouette, strong yet refined. I was inspired by recent fashions—the couture of the 50s and 60s and its perfect attitude—but also by court costumes and royal attire from the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Fitted cuts and draped volumes, infinite finishings and ornamentation techniques. Materials were chosen according to these historical references; silks of all kinds, sheer organza, strong dupion, structured faille, or duchesse... I also decided to work on brocades that I developed myself, from sketching to weaving. This experience allowed me to work on particularly heavy fabrics and bring together mohair wools, cottons, silks, and metal yarns. The color palette is pastel, covering a large range of shades. I worked on total looks of color. Black has been injected through the collection, starting as hints, ending up totally invading the silhouette.
(Central Saint Martins, London)
Zech—Zecharia (a book from the Bible about rebuilding the temple or ourselves in terms of mind and body)
Ori—Origami (method for patternmaking and the structure for building the temple)
I wanted to design a collection that reflected the personal and spiritual changes I had undergone during my four years at Saint Martins. I had begun to understand others, their personalities, actions, and their pasts, and to see the true beauty of other lives.
For me, design must be as fun as playing with toys. I like using simple things as inspiration, so origami was the method I used to make these “toys.” Origami can transform a 2-D piece into a 3-D shape and curves can be created naturally.
I simply “folded,” or draped, my fabric on the body, then made small corrections to it, finally adding fastenings to make a real garment.
My origami method of creating clothes had several benefits. Using the whole of a single piece of fabric meant less waste and lower production costs. It also required less padding and interlining. In addition to using eco-materials and altering old garments to make new pieces, this method enabled me to create ethical designs, and that is something I would like to develop further when designing in the future.
(Institute of Fashion Design, Basel)
My collection creates an encounter of yesterday and tomorrow. It is about the zeitgeist of European society in the first decade of the twentieth century. During periods of strict conventions, new movements tend to rise up; old structures degenerate and new forms of art, life, and society emerge.
My heroine Palmyre is independent and selfdetermined. She represents the future vision of women of that epoch before the First World War. Squeezed between the nineteenth century and the modernity of the future, they are looking for a way to express themselves and to strive forward.
A kind of plate tectonics was used as an ideal concept for working the clothes in a modular way. I observed the space inside and outside the garment. The movement in the garment, in addition to the movement of the single pieces when their wearer is walking, was also carefully examined. Thus, for every outfit another movement pattern is created.
The wig and shoes complete the look and are a bright and sensual contrast to the very graphic and severe silhouette. The final staging is complete once the garments are placed in the real world, where any backdrop becomes a part of the total look.
LA VIE RÊVÉE D’UNE FAMILLE DE MONSTRES (THE DREAM LIFE OF A FAMILY OF MONSTERS)
(Atelier Chardon Savard, Paris)
“My personal space is so sumptuously furnished. If you could only see it, there is such a plethora, and everything is in disorder... Everything moves.” (Dorothea Tanning)
It is from this kind of dimension that the Monster family was born. Monsters from the grandmother through to the last-born, created by repeating the representation of different parts of the human body, moving in a surreal space in which borders disappear and genders reverse.
Can the most bizarre enormity be made real?
THE BEAUTIFUL AND THE OTHER
(University of Wales, Newport)
I began by studying the movement of natural structures and, in particular, a bud unfurling into an extravagant rose. I also wanted to experiment with translating my inspirations directly into textile forms and then into designs. Throughout the design process, I attempted to represent the beauty of nature and to translate its ugly, weird elements into beautiful forms.
My sister was studying to be a surgeon at this time, and I began to consider the one thing our work has in common: stitching. I learned how to do a surgical stitch and quickly fell in love with the idea of using this slightly vulgar concept for delicate surface detail—again, creating beauty from ugliness.
I also spent a long time looking at insects and shells; their structures, layers, and stripy patterns. Returning to a focus on “the beautiful,” I compiled images of orchids, and was inspired by one in particular, the “Dutchman’s Pipe”— its skeletal structure, vivid lime and claret exterior, and contrasting purple and white spotted interior, and the way its ornate twisting flesh hangs down. I chose silk organza, silk chiffon, and fine wire to replicate this.
During the design process, I drew many extravagant creations, more wearable art than fashion. However, these were eventually scaled back into a final collection that was both wearable and representative of my theme and inspiration.
(Parsons The New School for Design, New York)
Inspired by the Mexican holiday Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), this collection embodies the celebration of one’s life. Día de los Muertos is about appreciating the story of your lost loved ones. Taking this idea, I inserted details throughout the entire collection that trigger memories from my past and have shaped me as a person—from paper masks my father made for me as a child to an outfit that harks back to a Halloween costume I used to love. In the end, this vision was an ode to my family, while giving a glimpse not only into my past but also my future.