Having talented friends is great. You can’t help but feel that warm fuzzy feeling of pride when they do good. Having talented friends that work in fashion is far better, however, as that fuzzy feeling of pride is so much stronger when you can directly benefit from their success and hard work by getting to wear their fabulous designs.
Said friend in this situation is print designer, Louise Coleman. Inspired by folklore, fairy-tale, and fantasy fused with the macabre, her hand-illustrated images are printed onto pure silk to create a delightfully haunting vision of the creepy-cum-compelling. It goes way back to fashion’s fascination with taking the beautiful, pretty, and perfect, then twisting it with a sense of wrongfulness to provoke thoughts and make you think something rather than simply “oh, that’s really nice”. Her designs are really nice, but they’re also just that little bit different too. Think the Brothers Grimm and Angela Carter’s Bloody Chamber (yes, that book your teacher made you read for your English Lit A-Levels). Kimonos and slip dresses (Louise references Japanese and British culture as another inspiration) propel the collection – alongside a myriad of decadently decorated scarves – with a distinctively louche, languid and fluid feminine aesthetic.
But forgetting influences and thoughts behind a collection for just one second, the best kind of designers create with the woman who will wear their clothes in mind. They make clothes not for purely political or artistic references, but to empower the woman wearing the clothes. When shooting these photos, my boyfriend (aka photographer, cliché I know) said I looked hot in this dress, which I suppose was a surprise as it wasn’t the skin-tight tubular design I’d usually think men would associate with the adjective hot. Later that week at a house party in East London I told I told Louise this whilst drunkenly discussing the collection. To no surprise, it made her happy. Not necessarily because a man happened to think I looked like a babe in one of her creations, but that the fact that her designs clearly don’t just make you look good but feel good at a level that people take notice.