The LVMH Prize is one of the most prestigious fashion design competitions. It propels young designers in front of the eyes of the industry’s most powerful names, offering creative mentorship, financial support, and limelight. As we count down to the final ceremony on June 6, CR spotlights the nine finalists on this year’s roster.
Although Léa Dickely and Hung La haven’t yet formally held a presentation or runway show, their underground line Kwaidan Editions, which translates to “strange stories” in Japanese, has become one of the most exciting names in fashion. Based in London but of mixed origins (Dickely is French-Aslatian, while La is Vietnamese-American), the real-life and work partners credit cinema and their varied fashion pasts as the impetus for today’s designs. For Fall 2018, the duo’s third collection, the designers outfitted villains of a new age, while introducing never-before-seen takes on textiles and their fabrication—one particularly sleek faux leather coat never saw it coming.
Just this past season in New York, Dickely and La revealed a special installation on the fourth floor of Dover Street Market inspired by 1950s roadside hotels, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, and enclosed spaces. Here, CR learns more about the pair who left their roles at the ateliers of the likes of Balenciaga and Céline to realize their dream.
How did the two of you come together?
La: We first met in our first year at the Antwerp Royal Academy 14 years ago, in 2004. We both felt we were from somewhere else—from different continents. Kwaidan is linked to the idea of floating origins. I suppose that’s also what brought us together and is part of our dynamic.
The name Kwaidan Edition comes from a 1965 Japanese horror film. What was the story behind that and the intention behind starting the line?
Dickely: Our relationship is linked to cinema and movies. That’s how we met, and it makes sense that a movie would actually represent our dynamic. We watched Kwaidan [the film] maybe three years ago. We completely related to the aesthetic of the hand-painted sets, the idea of embracing our own ghosts. It had a link to literature, it had a beautiful title. There’s something about the cinematic approach of building a story that relates to what we do. Film incorporates sound, light, colors, and character. All these elements work to convey a narrative, which is something that we like to do with our collections, too. We try to create a full view of something even if it’s emotional, poetic, subjective, and illusive—it’s about piecing these things together.
How have your past professional experiences informed Kwaidan’s aesthetic today?
HL: My work experiences at Balenciaga and Céline exposed me to how things are made at the highest level. It’s not about copying an aesthetic, but about a learning a process and discipline of design. There were certain principles. The quality of a piece needs to be desirable as a true garment and not only as an image.
LD: My aesthetic is rooted more in my own personal view and less from professional experiences. But professionally-speaking, the most important experience [for me] was with Rick Owens. There was something so direct about his process that resonated with me.
“Kwaidan is linked to the idea of floating origins. I suppose that’s also what brought us together and is part of our dynamic.”
What was idea behind your Fall/Winter 2018 collection?
LD: It started with me trying to piece together a memory, a dream, or atmosphere—reconstructing a feeling as a place. We started working with Lynchian villains like Bob from Twin Peaks or Frank Booth from Blue Velvet and “bad guy” wardrobe clichés, but imagined how they would work on a female villain. For the suiting, we focused on precision to express total composure—the most terrifying villain is one who is the most composed and measured. The one in the sharpest suit. We worked another “bad guy” code in—snakeskin. It’s such an obvious thing, but we wanted to use fake python on real calfskin to twist the lines between fake and real. The collection contains a lot of plays between faux and real—faux pythons, faux furs, faux leathers—but very real and authentic denim, pure merino wools. Only after we finished did we realize that we were playing with personas and façades, things that slip between real and fake.
How important are non-traditional and eco-friendly materials to you?
LD: We’re trying to find our tone. There are many ways of being sustainable. We produce very compact collections and don’t have a lot of waste. I’d love to use more eco-friendly materials but there are challenges, and it depends on larger factors, especially in business. We’re happy to use luxe wools and beautiful cottons but then we like to use industrial fabrics, too—ones that are not necessarily meant to be used in luxe fashion—and repurpose them.
HL: We’re always trying to investigate our responsibilities as a company. As we grow we’re trying to be aware of how we create waste and how we can be more efficient. It’s always important to us to know the provenance of the materials that we use and how and where they’re being made.
PHOTOGRAPHS DAMIEN KRISL
FASHION JOANA DACHEVILLE
MAKEUP MAYIA ALLEAUME
MODEL OUDEY AT OUI MANAGEMENT
CASTING DANTE FRONGILLO
SET DESIGN ELEONORA SUCCI
PRODUCTION HANNAH HUFFMAN
DIGITAL TECHNICIAN YOHAN BUREL
PHOTO ASSISTANT THOMAS CLODINE-FLORENT
FASHION ASSISTANT GLEN MBAN
MAKEUP ASSISTANT ELSA OLSON
prev link: https://www.crfashionbook.com/fashion/a20712376/fashion-designers-kwaidan-editions-lea-dickely-hung-la-lvmh-prize/
createdAt:Wed, 16 May 2018 04:21:58 +0000
displayType:Long Form Article