A deeper look(book): Isoscles, September 2018

17.12.2018 | Blog , Culture , Fashion | BY:

Isoscles’ lookbook reads like an inverted case of sharking, caught on the streets of Rome. There is an invited gaze – the woman is aware of herself as much as her vision. It almost reads as chapter five of John Berger’s ways of seeing: the self-awareness women profess and express. At the back of the SS19 imagery her friend and collaborator Cara Sheffler explores an experience of being up-skirted in New York, and the sensations she went through, parallel to how others perceived the act.

Taking ownership of how we are presented and how we present ourselves — not just to others but to ourselves — in a way requires us to objectify ourselves. The female gaze needs to supersede the male. 

Isosceles is a brand launched by Cicely Travers after a life of obsession for underwear, looking to create a label that gives pleasure to women in their own bodies. 

Currently supported by the British Fashion Council’s NEWGEN scheme and in her fourth season, Cicely is illuminating the new frontier more brands are exploring- what we wear closest to our skin and how that comes to shape how we feel about ourselves for ourselves. 

Utilising sheer mesh, bright colours and unique panelling, Isosceles pulls the eye to her garments, and in turn the body itself. Through these bold combinations, it does not shy away, but it also does not define: it merely enhances what was there – a spirit, a mentality, a personality, a woman. 

As Cara Sheffler concludes on upskirting herself in order to explore her body and personal perception of it, If that isn’t self-possession, I cannot tell you what is. 

Isosceles Lingerie

What made you begin your brand Isosceles?

I started making knickers after I dropped out of art school – it was the only thing I was really motivated to do. After completing a degree in contour fashion and having little success in getting to the kinds of jobs I wanted,  I went for an internship with Jean Yu in New York. I was so inspired her work: its exquisitely beautiful couture silk lingerie, and her refusal to compromise her aesthetic. It was a form of art. It took me five years after that to build up the courage to start my brand but it happened in the simplest of ways- I found this fantastic fluorescent stretch mesh in Shepherds Bush and played around with cutting shapes and wrapping the body. It went from there. 

What was the inspiration behind your last collection? 

I always look to vintage lingerie, and sportswear for inspiration: for my September 2018 collection this was mixed with clubwear and harlequins. I’m inspired by the fabric I’m using and a lot of ideas come from draping on the stand. I feel there are constraints as to how creative I can be with my brand because Isosceles Lingerie is functional as well as innovative. I strive to push the boundary into what lingerie can be whilst acknowledging that lingerie is something that has to support and should be harmonious or complementary to your outer wear. 

Isosceles Lingerie

What did you want to explore in your September 2018 look book imagery? 

The photographer Amy Gwatkin and I were inspired by the photographer Roy Stuart who takes soft porn pics of ladies semi-exposed in public: we wanted to play with those themes of exhibitionist and voyeur. We made an early decision that the subject should always look in control and was taking pleasure from flashing, thus subverting the male gaze. I always try to ensure that models don’t look submissive in my imagery. It was also a fun opportunity to show how lingerie can amplify the enjoyment of wearing clothes. 

Isosceles Lingerie

What does sexy mean to you? 

Pure, guiltless pleasure. 

Do you think attitudes towards lingerie are changing? Is it made for the female gaze as much as the male gaze? 

From my perspective, I don’t think wearing nice lingerie has very much to do with the male gaze at all. It’s about feeling good in your skin, in your clothes, feeling beautiful and cherishing your body by wearing beautiful fabrics and colours next to your skin. Wearing a bra that fits you and improves your shape, changes your posture, puts a spring in your step: I enjoy the playfulness of it. I think we need to embrace these pleasures and love our bodies more. I would like to put a little more seduction into the everyday. 

I’m seeing a lot of great women run lingerie brands that are making lingerie directed to the female gaze and changing attitudes about the importance of lingerie. 

Isosceles Lingerie

What do you want your audience to take away from your brand? 

That they could see themselves wearing it and having fun with the bright colours. I hope that people see it as a brand with a conscience. 

If your brand was a song/album/book/film, what would it be?

If it were a book it would be Don’t Cry by Mary Gaitskill. It’s a collection of her short stories, one of my favourites is called “A dream of men”. It’s funny and insightful: she is such a compassionate writer and I think it’s important to be compassionate as a designer especially in this day and age.
If it were an album it would be The B52’s album of the same name because its irreverent, funny, and great to dance to and it was made in the year I was born. 

Isosceles Lingerie

Can underwear be a bonding mechanism for women? 

To me, yes. For example it was fascinating to do the shoot with a totally female team. We had a lot of fun and a lot of great talks about the way we feel about our bodies. You realise that everyone has body hang-ups, even people who seem confident. We all have complicated relationships with our bodies:  its liberating to strip off and strip away the facade. 

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NEWGEN AW15

09.12.2014 | Fashion | BY:

The latest womenswear recipients for NEWGEN autumn/winter 2015 have been announced. Ashley Williams and Ryan Lo will receive catwalk sponsorship next season, having both received presentation sponsorship last time round, as well as 1205 and Marques Almeida, who will be receiving catwalk sponsorship again. Claire Barrow, Danielle Romeril and Faustine Steinmetz will be receiving presentation sponsorship along with newcomer Molly Goddard. Two new names to the NEWGEN roster are Marta Jakubowski and Sadie Williams, who have been given exhibition sponsorship for the upcoming season.

“NEWGEN produces the stars of London Fashion Week – the phenomenal progress of Marques Almeida in six seasons of support is proof of that,” states Sarah Mower –  BFC Ambassador for Emerging Talent. “Following in their footsteps is a whole new slew of discoveries whose sparky originality and careful entrepreneurialism have won them the praise of the NEWGEN committee and Topshop’s invaluable sponsorship. We think the quality, colour and sheer desirability of the clothes audiences will be seeing from 1205, Ashley Williams, Claire Barrow, Danielle Romeril, Faustine Steinmetz and Ryan Lo will step up yet another rung this season. And now they’re joined by an influx of three brilliantly individualistic young women, Molly Goddard, Marta Jakubowski and Sadie Williams.”

britishfashioncouncil.co.uk

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Danielle Romeril Q&A

14.01.2014 | Fashion | BY:

London has cemeneted itself as home to some of the most interesting and talented emerging designers. Danielle Romeril is one of those names. If you didn’t hear about her eponymous label last year, you certainly will in 2014. Twin caught up with the young designer to talk fashion memories, first jobs and future collections.

Was fashion always on the cards for you?
The short answer is no. I started studying Psychology, Politics and History of Art at university. After my first year, I took my exams and decided I needed to try something else – that university experience was just too dull and vacuous, and generally an inspiration void zone. I had always had an interest in fashion and can remember at aged nine having these design competitions with my nemesis in school. Both of us would draw and colour up designs and our friends would judge them – I usually killed it. It was my amazing camo-combos of neon colours and black that did it. When I was 16, in school we had this year that they call Transition Year in Ireland, you are supposed to spend the year doing subjects less focused on academic results and more focused on what you might like to do after school, before you start into the senior cycle and take your final exams. People study subjects not typically on the curriculum, they learn to drive or they help out in the community. We had to do this tome of a project, completely self led on anything you wanted. A scary idea for most 16 year olds. In Transition Year I partied a lot so I decided to teach myself to pattern cut, from a book I bought and I designed and made a coat from scratch. It was a huge undertaking but I loved it. The purpose of the coat was to make me look old enough to get into pubs and clubs while also looking cool – it worked, I got served and an A in my project. I should have applied for a place in an art university straight from school but I didn’t have the courage. I come from an academic family and I didn’t excel in art in school so I chickened out and hence ended up in the wrong university, studying the wrong thing.

Who were your early fashion influences?
I guess as a young teenager I would have been a bit unaware of fashion in terms of the fashion system. My education came from my mother who shopped in a beautiful store in Dublin called Havana. She was wearing Yohji and Jil Sander but in a really unselfconscious way – she bought the pieces because she loved them as garments, she didn’t read the press, she didn’t care what name was on the label, she just knew what was beautiful and special. At that time I dressed as I still do now, arranging my appearance based on my gut instinct. I remember a silver puffa jacket worn with a velvet A-line mini and rubber soled, lace up platform canvas trainers that I loved, until people started shouting spaceman at me in the street! That infamous Levi’s ad and Dublin being a sort of conservative place in the mid 90’s probably didn’t help. I always stuck out a bit, I was a very headstrong teenager, if I wanted to do something, I did it. When I started to study fashion I became a bit obsessed with Rick Owens – that obsession lasted a long time. I loved his raw but beautiful fabrics and tough leathers, the tough girl attitude with the sublime drape and fabric that just swept around a woman’s curves. You can’t see any of that influence in my designs now. I have lost my desire to design tough, heavy clothes for scowly but beautiful girls. I don’t try as hard now and I think I am happier, which I think you can see in my work. Oh and how could I not mention Cristobal Balenciaga and Miuccia Prada – as a woman and as a designer.

Your debut collection launched for SS13. How have you grown as a brand and as a designer since then?
I guess when I launched I still had the concerns that permeated the Alberta Ferretti studio ringing in my ears so I was thinking about customer, age, wearability, different fabric groups – all this stuff which sort of mashed in with my own thoughts and feelings and lead to a collection that wasn’t as cohesive as it could have been. By the following season I was just doing what I wanted to do, which always works much better. The label is now stocked in 10 countries across the globe which I am proud of. I think I have learnt the same lessons that you keep re-learning throughout your education and working life as a designer: trust your gut, do what you like and the rest will follow. I collaborate with an old friend and stylist, the very talented Kieran Kilgallon, and besides bringing another angle to the collection with how we shoot it and style it, he is like my cheerleader who helps me keep focused on my gut feelings and is always telling me to never do anything I don’t want to do.

You bring a certain sophistication to street inspired designs. How would you describe your aesthetic?
This is the bit I always fail miserably at, describing my aesthetic; it seems so concrete, like I have to nail my colours to the wall and never change my mind. I also wonder if people can’t just look at what I do and judge it based on what they see, what they touch and feel. Words are so often a clumsy tool to describe visual three dimensional objects. If only I was famous, it would seem mysterious and interesting that I don’t describe my work rather that I just have a poor way with words when it comes to my own designs.

I will try though, here goes. Firstly, I like to change my mind. That is what I love about the fashion system, that one season I can be all about Voodoo and tribal influences and the next season it is bubble wrap and sticky tape. How cool is it that fashion actively encourages us to scrap everything every six months – what liberation! Secondly, the label is vibrant and youthful, the clothes are fun but with plenty of cool attitude. A Danielle Romeril girl is going to stand out. As a designer my real passion is decorative possibilities, I love fabric and surface detail, I like clothes that feel simple, almost utilitarian. I guess that is the street influence you can see. You should be able to just throw on a Danielle Romeril item with a pair of flats and go but these same garments are extraordinary up close. They are clothes that should be seen in real life, garments you want to wear.

You previously worked as a designer for Alberta Ferretti and Amanda Wakeley. Did the experience drive you to set up your own design brand?
Amanda Wakeley was my first job after my BA course, and having nearly killed myself on my graduate collection it was a nice break, basically an easy enough job that allowed me to move to London and make some money but it wasn’t what I got into fashion to do. There was an absence of passion and excitement in the studio so I left it to study for my Masters at the Royal College of Art, which was an enormously positive two years – the years that cemented in me that I would never do anything other than design again. From there I was selected to work in Alberta Ferretti’s studio in Italy and I more or less decided on the spot to go. I needed money and a job; an MA is an expensive business. It was a so-so experience – I hated living in this teeny town in the middle of nowhere in Italy and the design team was miserable but when I left I was at a loss as what to do next. I just couldn’t think of where or for who I wanted to work for. A lot of design studios like you to work in one particular way and I like to combine drawing, draping and fabric manipulation. It took me six months of indecision before I took the plunge to start up the label. Maybe I lacked courage but once I get going on something, I don’t stop. My Dad’s mantra – corny as it may be – is when the going gets tough, the tough gets going. On crappy days I say it over and over to myself.

Your collections feature a lot of lace and leather. Would you describe them as a Danielle Romeril staple or can we expect very different materials in the future?
There is no leather and almost no lace in AW14 so I guess you’ll be seeing something new. I am very excited about one fabric in particular; it has beauty, geekyness and crazy nostalgia all tied up in it.

What is your design process like? What does a typical day look like to you?
It completely varies. Firstly, you are the boss of a company before you are a designer. I know that probably sounds strange to people who think we just sketch all day but there are a lot of emails, press, stores, factories, PRs, fabric suppliers, accountants – all the sexy stuff to deal with first thing in the morning – the buck stops with me for all the serious stuff so you have to juggle a lot of balls. I start at 9, go through the day with my amazing team, I answer questions, we bounce ideas around. I aim to have a really creative work place that keeps people feeling excited and passionate, hopefully I succeed some of the time. Then I get down to design and collection development and as it comes together you see what is looking really beautiful and add similar styles or utilise a successful technique or fabric more often. So I will sketch or get on the machine and work out a new technique or collage fabrics and colours together for new styles. Sometimes in the afternoons we will do fittings, sometimes I will have a meeting. I really love to collaborate with other creative people. For SS14 I collaborated with milliner Laura Kinsella and currently I’m working on a bag collaboration. Fingers crossed for more exciting collaborations in the future.

What is it like to be a young designer in London?
It’s amazing as long as you don’t think about the money and I don’t mean the fistful of fifties being shoved through your letter box every morning.

What did it feel like to receive exhibition sponsorship from NEWGEN?
It was a pretty big moment, I guess a career highlight for me. I was just tapping away, doing my thing, building the brand and the Danielle Romeril vision. I applied and then I got to the second stage, which a lot of people get to and then I got to the third stage and then I was in front of an 18 person panel, feeling completely out of my depth and then you wait and see. A week later they send you an email and I suppose it’s like the smallest thing and the biggest thing all in one. It changes nothing – you are still working on your new collection and sorting out production but it changes everything too. This thing, that has been a dream and a massive goal, that you have been busily pretending to yourself is no big deal, just lands on you one day. It’s like fuck yeah, but then you can’t tell anyone for two weeks except your family who don’t really get it – there is nothing worse than trying to explain to someone who doesn’t get it why it is such a big deal. So myself and Kieran Kilgallon (the stylist I work with) and my team basically just patted ourselves on the back, felt smug and went to the pub to celebrate.

What can we expect from Danielle Romeril the brand in 2014?
Hopefully, to be surprised and maybe to hear the name a few more times.

www.danielleromeril.com

Images from Danielle Romeril SS14

Photographer: Joshua Gordon
Stylist: Kieran Kilgallon
Make-up & Hair: Sarah Lanagan
Hats: A collaboration with milliner Laura Kinsella

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Protege Programme

17.02.2012 | Blog , Fashion | BY:

With a week’s worth of womenswear and menswear shows kicking off today, a new crop of fresh design talents will be making their London Fashion Week mark.

For this season, expect to see the collections of David Koma, Holly Fulton, J.JS Lee, J.W. Anderson, Michael van der Ham and Simone Rocha on the runway, as well as Christopher Raeburn, Thomas Tait, Nasir Mazhar, Sister by Sibling, Huishan Zhang, James Long, Lucas Nascimento, Tim Soar and Palmer//Harding presenting their unique designs in installations and exhibitions.

Helping them flourish in the fashion capital is the British Fashion Council’s NEWGEN initiative, founded in 1993 and sponsored by Topshop. The scheme offers young creatives a platform to showcase their designs at Somerset House, as well as offering financial and business support.

With past recipients including Alexander McQueen, Matthew Williamson, Christopher Kane, Mary Katrantzou and Meadham Kirchhoff, the future is looking more than bright for this next generation of fashion talent. After all, there’s nothing like a new kid on the block to shake things up.

britishfashioncouncil.co.uk

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