Colville: Dedicated Vision

26.11.2019 | Blog , Fashion | BY:

The brand that culminated from three relationships founded at Marni is one of beauty, strength and a contemporary elegance.

Colville doesn’t have a brand bio, it has a manifesto: a dedicated vision, that it hopes to instil in those who encounter it. A meeting of three fabulous minds, Colville was consummated from a Venn diagram of insight, expertise and experience. From Lucinda Chambers, the stylist and ex-fashion director of Vogue UK, to the Marni designers Molly Molloy and Kirsten Foss, this is a label that has not entered the market light-handedly. Striding into familiar waters, this time with no obligations, Colville feels like a giant sigh of exhilaration: a long time coming from three impressive women who have spent decades strengthening and celebrating visions. Now they can carve out their own. 

With the name a reference to a street David Hockney frequented in the 1970’s the initial associations are set before one even claps eyes on the clothes. Colour, modernism, a uniqueness of touch and ingenuity of vision: all aspects we see this brand emanating, and thus paying homage to a history of modern art, thus three lives also spent exploring and adoring the arts. It’s a smattering of London too, rooting their designs as a sort of cultured and cool friendliness – the love of a half pint in Francis Bacon’s favourite pub as much as his works that hang in the Tate. 

Colville commenced with an AW19 collection in 2018, a collection of depth and brevity. With graphic hand drawn prints, unexpected shapes, cropped lengths, drawstring tightenings and thickly overlaid silks draped in voluminous and generous furls around the body. 

The woman they design for are neither expected or stereotyped caricatures on the fashion track. Described in their manifesto, they are “hunters and gatherers, odd and individual: so are our women. Building their own reality as a product of the imagination and living it.”

It would be too easy to pull the similarities between Marni and the near-intergalactic jewellery, like proud UFO sculptures, the ruched and determined bold layering of Lucinda’s oft mimicked styling, This would be lazy. Of course, their past will enter this brave new future: after all, they all helped carve Marni’s instantly recognisable aesthetic for so long. 

Talking to the three creators, Colville is only furthered in the mind as an intelligent label, creating collections – exclusive to Matches Fashion – that are joyful celebrations of colour, considered balances of separates, and brave designs of unique jewellery, bags and accessories that not only appeal to women of substance, but push the boundaries out of noteworthy shapes, formulation and aesthetics. Hooray for Colville: a brand that thinks and acts for the woman with brains, culture, art and creativity at her core. 

How has your collated, extensive and reputable experiences resulted in Colville’s aesthetics and the manifesto of the brand?

I think our collated experience has what has helped us shape and  Colville, our collective knowledge and strengths have bought a brand together that we didn’t perhaps expect. We started designing a wardrobe for the 3 of us, really that’s what it came down to. Something for each of us, 3 aesthetics combined.

Why do you call your brand a sum, rather than a mix of ideas?

It’s a sum as it has a unique and distinctive voice and vision of its own, Colville. When we are talking through ideas we often say, that’s very Colville, and we know what that means. It’s a certain freedom of expression, bold and quietly beautiful at the same time, the mix. 

What does Colville draw inspiration from?

We are inspired by anything and everything.

We look at so many corners of life and its offerings to feed our collections. As three working together, it is important for us to be receptive to mixed references.

Tell us about the brand’s inception

We knew we wanted to continue our working relationships when we all left Marni. We couldn’t imagine not continuing our creative collaboration, it made sense and then suddenly one day we are doing it on our own and it’s growing!

Do you feel there are paradoxes at play in your collections?

Yes probably purely for the fact that we are 3 women with different aesthetic tastes that come together. We can do a tailored coat in black but then we love a drawstring bold floral print dress. We all see the point of each other’s ideas; I think that mix is what makes us unique and perhaps paradoxical.

Is Colville a direct manifestation of art and culture?

 I think it’s a direct result of what we are feeling in that moment, it’s more of an emotional response to what we want to wear, having said that we go to exhibitions and films etc and those experiences permeate into our collections subconsciously.

Does music hold any relevance in your collections?

Well we are always listening to it and it’s important to all of us, I think we can remember the music we were listening to while we were emailing late at night replying to emails!

What was the last thing that made you excited?
Lucinda: the last thing I was excited about was two minutes ago thinking about a shoot…. and who was going to do that. 

Molly : Working at the bag factory this morning and seeing the new prototypes.

Kristin: Booking a Christmas trip to India.

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