And the MoMu Award Goes To...
Each year, MoMu issues an award to one of the latest Fashion graduates from the Antwerp Royal Academy of Fine Arts. This year, the award was given to Annemarie Saric, for her women's collection ‘Luxus Für Alle’. MoMu was intrigued by her unique graphic style and the execution of her storytelling in her collection. Annemarie has succeeded in translating a particularly futuristic starting point – the streamlined design of concept cars – into a collection that is notable not only as a result of its design, but also of the materials that were used.
What are the different stages of your design process? And how do you translate an idea into a design or a collection?
Annemarie Saric: “The first thing I do is carry out some research. I start off by looking on the internet, but also in other places such as the library, for ideas that will allow me to create a certain atmosphere. For this collection, I drew a lot of inspiration from old magazines. I found the headlines in fashion articles particularly interesting as a result of their contents, as well as their graphic design. By doing this, I was able to bring together a Dadaist collection of random terms and slogans. I also found the streamlined, aerodynamic and stylistic design of concept cars completely fascinating. After that, I try out a variety of silhouettes that are in keeping with that atmosphere. In many cases, I create designs directly onto the tailor's dummy.”
What led you to become inspired by concept cars?
"I came across them while I was looking for a new and interesting approach and was immediately intrigued. As a subject area, it is extremely rich and broad. Car-makers actually invest massive amounts of money and carry out extensive research when constructing those models, even though the cars themselves will never make it onto the road."
My intention was to translate the lines and the brilliance of the cars into items of clothing. I was aiming to achieve a highly streamlined silhouette.
What materials did you use and how does this relate to your sources of inspiration?
"My intention was to translate the lines and the brilliance of the cars into items of clothing. I was aiming to achieve a highly streamlined silhouette and therefore chose to use super-elastic fabrics, such as Lycra. For the corset, I decided to make use of a highly flexible type of leather that is also used to create the inside surfaces of handbags that also contrasted with the Lycra. The fact that I also used latex is also a reference to the cars.”
The starting point for an item of clothing is almost always a tube. If you look at it as a geometric shape what you get will be the refined and distilled version of that.
What is your favourite item from the collection?
"The latex dress. It was the very first piece I created and it defined the overall look of the collection. It was also the last piece that I completed. The dress reflects the whole idea behind the collection. I reflected on what the starting point of a dress or an item of clothing would be and found that it is almost always a tube. If you approach an item of clothing in that way and look at it as a geometric shape, what you will get will be the refined and distilled version of that. Some of my silhouettes are merely a simplification of a rectangular pattern that becomes three dimensional as a result of the notches or slashes. In my designs, I emphasised the shape and incorporated few details or no details at all."
You had to graduate in the middle of the lockdown. What was that like for you? Did it provide new opportunities or did you get the feeling that you had missed out on something due to the lockdown?
"It did change my collection a bit. A collaboration with a friend of mine that was scheduled to take place couldn't go ahead, which meant that obtaining materials wasn't as easy and I had to make do with the textiles that I already had available. We were already spending a lot of time working from home, but fittings and meetings take place nowadays via Skype. The fact that the live show was replaced with a video actually turned out to be a great opportunity for the students. Normally, you have to make do with a particular setting and as an individual, you don't have a lot of scope to play around with that. But now, the digital imagery was something we could control ourselves. In my view, this was absolutely great, as each student's personality was reflected in their video."
What was it like to take part in the virtual blind dates Showww with Raf Simons and Tim Blanks?
"Nerve-racking! I was the first student to be called, so I truly had no idea who would appear on the other side. It genuinely was a surreal experience – these are people that you know from the media and whom you look up to a great deal and you're suddenly talking to them on the phone. But they were both very nice with me, so that was really great!” (Watch the Showww blind date with Raf Simons and Tim Blanks)
The digital show was a great opportunity - In a live show, you have to make do with a particular setting, but as we were using video, all of the elements - the images, the music and so on - were things that we could control.
What are you doing at the moment and what are your plans for the future?
"I'm currently doing an internship at a fashion house in Paris and once my internships are complete, I hope I can find a job with a fashion label. What I want to do is to work out how the system actually works and so it's really great to be working with other people to create something new. Right now, the atmosphere in Paris is a bit strange. Fortunately, despite the recent restrictions, we can still go to work, but no-one knows what the future holds and whether the fashion week will actually take place, either in person or otherwise."