LONDON FASHION WEEK 2014
Faustine Steinmetz is a fashion designer from Paris who has a special consideration for fabrics and the techniques that form them. Rather than pale in light of timely, intricate processes that will produce a particular textile she savours the process of it’s creation. Her personal view of luxury is the notion of wearing a garment that was hand-made for the individual.
The designer graduated from Central Saint Martins in 2012, and has previously worked for Jeremy Scott and Henrik Vibskov. This season she had her debut at London Fashion Week. Her collection was one of the most acclaimed to show due to the unique quality of her textiles and impressive production techniques. Steinmetz and her team create every part of her garments by hand even down to the most minute detail of hand shredding the yarn using a small needle. The yarns are also hand-dyed, sometimes painted stand by strand, and use only natural indigo and dye processes in their East London studio where they spin, dye and weave all their own fabrics. Each piece is meticulously made by hand, with some pieces taking over a week to weave.
Steinmetz’s fabrics are created to produce a paradoxical garment that seems to be what it is not. This artistic manipulation of technique is what has made her collection so striking. In her first collection in 2013 she created a range of denim like garments, styled on Levi’s iconic 501′s, that were made from hand-dyed, hand-spun and hand-woven mohair By using unexpected elements such as copper with silk and mohair to imitate denim she creates illusions that open the imagination to new possibilities in garment construction.
In an interview with WGSN’s Samuel Trotman she explains that her motivation was her love of things not being what they seem to be which is why she loves to work with iconic pieces and twist them in different ways…
“I remade them all from scratch— hand-dyed and wove the material. Even the smallest details like the pockets, brown label, and red tabs are woven. I replicated them from nothing to show what my idea of fashion is. For me, it is a craft, a labor intensive discipline.
Patience is your best friend when you do that kind of weave! It took me about a hundred hours to create one pair of jeans.”
For her Autumn/Winter 2014 collection she worked copper fibres into the denim weaves to give the cloth a malleability that allowed it to be formed by hand, shaping the line and twisting the waist to fit.
This year Steinmetz was selected by TopShop’s initiative NEWGEN, to showcase her debut at London Fashion Week where she presented her Spring Summer 2015 collection as an installation with live models posing as static mannequins. The textiles developed for this collection showed a great advancement in the designer’s skills and a progression of her design concept.
Inspired by the Japanese technique of Shibori, which is used to create tie-dye patterns by twisting and knotting the fabric in different styles before dyeing, she chose to focus on the process instead of the result. The fabric was first hand-painted, then knotted and finally steamed to secure the moulded shape of the knots which, when released, remained in a puckered 3D form.
Other pieces were handwoven from heat-fused denim yarns that were layered up to 6 times and bonded to create gossamer-like infusions of thread and colour then structured into garments.
Faustine Steinmetz is a true innovator of her craft and it is in her love of the process that the patience to work with these artisan techniques and produce an original result can be found. In the midst of the current flurry of emerging technologies, she is quietly recreating nature one thread at a time.