Monday, 23 April 2012

smarter than fiction

The first thing I noticed when I came face to face with
British designer Hermione de Paula's work was obviously
her name because I couldn't stop myself from thinking
to the world-famous HP's namesake character whose
author J.K. Rowling stated resembling her at a younger
age, with all her insecurity and fear of failure.

'Our' Hermione clearly didn't study at Hogwarts, she's
a graduate from eminent London's Central Saint Martins
whose inspiration however comes from unconventional
female characters, like in her AW 12-13 collection called
'Marguerite's Menagerie' that ”tells the story of a twisted
English flower, Hermione's dark lolita, Marguerite,
is an unconventional collector of sorts whose passion

 lies with her extraordinary menagerie”... 
she wrote introducing it.

”Unconventional florals are re-imagined with an animalistic
twist. Here nothing is quite as it seems, a flower is not 

 just a flower....” she adds and actually at a closer look
her rose petals reveal to be made of fish tails while 
flowers come out from metal and ice textures.
I suddenly went into raptures about the specimen in
Hermione's latest menagerie in which her signature
dark-twisted, collaged or hand-painted floral prints 
embark tropical birds, flying fishes and bees on dainty 
layered chiffons with feather adornments and 
bead embroideries here and there.

Originally from Devon, Hermione gained a significant
experience with high-class labels and brands such as
Christian Dior Couture, John Galliano and Alexander
McQueen and working for Jennifer Nicholson in L.A.
before establishing her eponymous RTW label in 2008
in London, where she keeps on consulting for companies
such as Nicholas Kirkwood (needless to say the shoes
in the collection are by the Germany-born top-notch
footwear designer with whom she collaborated as a
print consultant on pre-collections and special lines
such as the Keith Haring array).

Hermione's melodramatic collection shows once again
her penchant for kooky design and asymmetrical hemlines
skillfully mixing traditional English craftsmanship with her
own definition of femininity and she wittily describes her
brand's philosophy as ”I probably shouldn't, but I will
anyway.” Hermione seems to be therefore the name of
an overachiever, while the know-it-all fictitious character 
excels academically the real one stands out in advancing
her graceful style with playfulness and originality.

> all photos © by Kristin Vicari, style by Kate Ruth <

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