Biography With Fabric

This brooding, eerie image shows a garment called ‘Drowning’. It is a claustrophobic carapace around a model who may or may not be aware of the rocky, watery location. Perhaps they were even led there by the hand and told just to stay still. The garment comes from a collection of four pieces whose other titles are ‘Shadow’, ‘Seclusion’, and ‘Suffocation’.

The collection is called ‘Look Into My Eyes’ and is from Wellington-based designer Marie Kelly. The collection had its inception within the framework of Massey University’s design school, yet it is so strong and declamatory it soars into an orbit quite independent of being a required project.
The collection is a headlong foray into androgynous layering, gathering, cascades, veilings, mask-work and identity-swamping. The predominant  materials are wool gauze and silk tissue; light, shimmering, opaque materials when handled off the bolt, but becoming dense and almost overbearing when massed and layered.

The architecture of the garments is certainly striking, but then so is the spirit behind the work. The collection is, in effect, a biography-in-fabric exploring the despondencies of those who suffer depression. Senses are dulled, speech falters, inspiration gutters down, the self becomes enveloped by a smoky mist which few others are able to see, and colours drain away.
Yet, often, amidst this wreckage, ideas can plume up and be worked into outstanding offerings. As in this case.

Project drawings for the collection.

The best grade of leather has always been sought for projects of value like bookbinding, upholstery, shoes, gloves and coats. In this bolero jacket, an offering from Hale Van Traa through their shop Goodness at 19 College Street, the silkiness of the best grade of leather is immediately obvious to the eye and to the touch. The bronzy chocolate colour is spot on, and kept cosy company with a gold lining. The tailoring is deceptively simple – allowing the sheer language of the material to shine through, but also finished with impeccable stitching and panel cutting. It’s a small rhapsody in ChocolateBronzeGold. It hums.