Friday, March 7, 2014

Video: Stella Jean FW 14/15 Collection

In the other worldly atmosphere of Kabuki theatre, an unusual meeting is going to shatter established anthropological and aesthetic certainties; Haitian fashion designer Stella Jean's journey ta- kes us to the crossroads of Italy, Japan and Africa, enriched by purely Italian expertise and sartorial craft. The evocative hyper-femininity from the East meets the reality of patriarchal men's fabrics. The hybrid of geisha and mannish attitude will slot into place in a role play that is both conscious and humorous.

The ménage à trois of different cultural inspirations is revealed in the long kimonos, knitted in alpaca or mohair wool and enriched by inlay embroidery made by hand (a process that required 250 hours of knitting), with images of typical Far Eastern autum- nal landscapes, untouched by urbanization and immersed in an atmosphere with Zen undertones. An idea of Italian originality and craftsmanship merges into the Japanese cultural fabric thanks to its shapes and colours, an experiment obtained with 22 balls of wool -- one for each Autumn hue.

Other wool kimonos announce more cultural emblems, for example the carp, the po- pular symbol of the strength of perseverance and of determination in one's intentions. The array of symbols could not forget a nod to Italy, therefore the knitwear sports the designs of the traditional local playing cards. Inlay embroidery is also used in waistco- ats, short wool dressing gowns, tube skirts or full skirts in stripy jersey.

Waxed prints evolve into new and unexpected textures, composing cultural and phy- sical oxymora which are bound to surprise. The exclusive prints are a continuous in- terplay of references - on aristocratic blouses with a bow around the neck (perfect for a multifoiled, urban Madame Butterfly), embellishing the collection's cotton skirts and finally decorating stocking and socks, with the general result of an outstanding all-over mosaic. The new vision of wax prints and its ways of expression is sometimes inter- rupted by the geometric rigour of handmade striped canvas woven by artisan women in Burkina Faso, created in the cadre of the Ethical Fashion project by United Nations agency ITC, and making its debut in an A/W collection.
In this international summit, Italy is represented by typical grisaille fabrics borrowed from menswear.

The world of accessories renew its importance: the shoes have been created exclusi- vely for the fashion show by French Maison Christian Louboutin, mirroring the expres- siveness of the collection's visuals: waxed fabrics and stripy Burkina Faso canvas make for totally personal court shoes and ankle boots. The contrasting capped toes create a paradigm that allows to unleash and structure the need to leave the beaten path of Western traditions and to follow personal taste and imagination.

The elegant retro feel of the doctor bags is sunny enough to light up a glum winter thanks to the bright colours of waxed fabrics and Burkina Faso canvas, somehow whipped into discipline by a two-tone gros-grain band.

As usual, bijoux jewellery plays a major role: river pearls necklaces have huge jewelled clasps in the shape of the symbols of this collection, like the Japanese rooster, the carp, the lionfish and the beetle, which are also applied on printed coconut bangles. Wool cameos with handmade inlays in the shape of the Japanese rooster are the re- curring image on bracelets and sautoirs.

A collection that interweaves tradition and experimentation, where cultural, artisanal and sartorial inlays work in unison for the eye's perfect joy.

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