The (Design) Search Continued.

The (Design) Search Continued.

Guest feature by Sleek magazine, part II: In collaboration with Sleek, we are headed to London via Amsterdam and Antwerp in search of young design talent.
Text: Grashina Gabelmann
Photos: Maxime Ballesteros
  • The (Design) Search Continued.

  • Wim Bruynooghe: Reconstructing the artist-muse dynamic in fashion.

    In another instalment of our collaboration, Sleek takes us on the road to meet six of the most exciting young graduate designers working to redefine fashion today. From anarchy in Amsterdam and despair in Belgium’s artiest city, all the way to headwear that defies description in London’s East End, here is the new breed of creatives imagining what fashion fans will be wearing tomorrow. Read about part one of this trip here. Visitors to Wim Bruynooghe’s flat in central Antwerp would be forgiven for thinking he might be living with his grandmother. That’s a compliment – everything here looks ancient, thought-out and cute.

    Wim Bruynooghe at home. © Maxime Ballesteros

    Black and white portraits surrounded by ornate golden frames hang above antique furniture, and here and there we find tiny little treasures, like a beaded handbag from the 1920s.

    The Muse © Maxime Ballesteros

    Searching the muse.

    The 25-year-old, Bruges-born designer’s MA collection is an exploration of the complex relationship between the artist and the muse. “My boyfriend was once a muse to another artist. I thought it was ridiculous. I was quite negative about it, but I didn’t want to judge so I studied this relationship instead.” The artist-turned-fashion designer quickly realised that the artist/muse relationship is too tangled to merely label as unbalanced. “You have to look closer to see what’s really going on. Muses too are powerful. They influence the artist and give him the necessary source to create, so the lines of power become blurred. I wanted to capture the artist’s desire for immortalisation and at the same time give the muse a chance for emancipation.” Wim presents this compromise in two layers: the under layers are strong, skin-coloured bodycon dresses accentuating the muse’s shape. The top layers he describes as a “cultural fossil”.

    Jaimee McKenna: visions in navy and cobalt, built from yarn and stitch.

    Our journey in the Mercedes-Benz GLK 250 takes us to London, city of energy and eccentricity. And one thing was evident upon entering designer Jaimee McKenna’s North London flat: this girl loves knit. Countless spools of yarn fill her room, books on yarn and knitting line her bookshelves and there are not one but three knitting machines. “My fourth knitting machine, an industrial-sized one, is up north at my parents’ place, and I’ve just bought a new one on eBay. Apparently, I’m a knit machine addict,” she says, mock-surprised. It’s a good thing, seeing as her MA Central Saint Martins graduate collection consists solely of knits, all made using her beloved machines. With her graduate collection, Jaimee took pleats to another level.

    Jaimee McKenna's passion is knitting.© Maxime Ballesteros

    Yves Klein as wavy clothes.

    Her knit dresses, tops and skirts are as much sculptures as they are garments. The dresses are long, layered, billowing and structured almost like boxes, yet there is a calming flow that runs through all of her pieces thanks to Jaimee’s restrained choice of colours: cobalt and navy. That’s it. “I saw an Yves Klein painting at the Tate and it was like ‘Bam!’ – such a saturated colour with such presence. That’s what I wanted to put into the garment,” she recalls, heaving her pet rabbit Dougie out of his cage and on to her lap. Cobalt dominates each piece, with navy making a guest appearance at the bottom of separate garments. “I had done dip-dye in previous collections so I brought in that element as an effect.” Jaimee is now planning to work as a freelance knitter and looking to make a capsule collection. Another knitted collection, of course. But why knit, exactly?

    Jaimee McKenna likes to stay in controll of her projects. © Maxime Ballesteros

    “The fact that you are constructing your fabric as well as the design gives you full control. It’s completely your baby – the possibilities are endless.”

    The studio of Ana. © Maxime Ballesteros

    Ana Rajcevic: sculpture as fashion from this radical architect manquée.

    We park the car somewhere deep in East London for the final stop on our search for the best new design talent, and meet Ana Rajcevic. Defining what she does is difficult, nearly impossible: “I find that what is not defined really fascinating. I believe what I make is sculpture but also fashion and maybe it’s even contemporary jewellery too – it kind of isn’t, but it could be,” she remarks. The 29-year-old Serb, who is a studied architect, completed her Fashion Artefact MA at the University of Arts, London, with her award-winning collection “ANIMAL: The Other Side of Evolution” – a unique eight-piece fibreglass and polyester resin interpretation of animal anatomy through headpieces.

    Fashion’s anatomy.

    These signatures and approaches won her LCF’s “Best Design Award 2012” and “Accessories Collection of the Year”. Half her collection is currently with Lady Gaga, who will wear them in her next music video. The next collection of headpieces is a variation on the theme; this time, however, the wearer’s eyes will be covered. “Obstructing the view of a person not only robs them of their sight but hides their face from others – it creates a question of power. I want to play with that. I’ll do something more ready-to-wear at some point. I’ll go commercial. It’s good to have something to switch to.”

    Read the full article on mb! by Mercedes-Benz.

    New hat design. © Maxime Ballesteros

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