At the beginning, it was all ashes. Such is the story scientifically speaking: A world of rough surfaces and the transition into something of greater nature.
Mimicking that process, designer Kjersti Vatle presented her Fall/Winter 2011-2012 collection “Ashes”. Her transitional process is not only one of development into finding her own niche as an established designer, but relies also on her venture into a menswear collection alongside womenswear.
Representative of all the varied elements to surge, Vatle presented a collection incorporating several elements: British Punk Rock and Goth, Indian Jewelry Detail, Caribbean colors and that typical Vatle touch that tends to make her designs eye-popping and atypical of the Norwegian norm.
The menswear collection was a sporty array of knits, jackets and tops relying on a darker tone yet more conservative design. The incorporation of rough, charcoal-like surfaces into various designs were an appealing way to insert a tougher, rugged attitude to sportswear. In contrast, sheer and loose knits played a vital role in enlightening the mood and providing a sense of androgynous nature to masculine designs. Such combination creates a first idea of who a Vatle man is: A tough man with no inhibition and his own definition.
Womens pieces were characterized by that wow-factor that Vatle usually punches in. A mix of show pieces through poofed gowns, golden chained details and oversized scarves intermixed with more commercial skirts, shirts and tops that contained a more classic cut. Yet Vatle’s trademark in structured patterns through triangles and overall shapes was clearly present.
Although the collection incorporated small dashes of color in contrast to previous collections, the biggest point of attention fell upon on a bright orange tulle gown that was reminiscent of a red piece that was unfortunately stolen some seasons ago. Already having gotten press by Stella Mwangi on her “Haba Haba” video, this gown is sure to make varied appearances in the near future.
All in all, Vatle presents a mix of all worlds. The critical part relies on the factor of quantity. The use of materials, patterns and shapes characteristic to Vatle add to the fun, ever-creative side, yet can also prove to steal from the functional side of such designs. That balance between function and show seemed to be found on either or of the designs, creating thus a vaguer definition of the overall theme. Having said that, the creation of two lines side by side is no easy task. Thinking metaphorically, the theme of “Ashes” is a premonition of the niche Vatle is building up for herself as a fashion brand. After all, it is from these interesting and unique ashes that a whole future is built upon.
Words: Alexander Norheim / AX80.
Photos: Agneta Burnett.