How does this collection steer the brand towards a new direction?
We try to engage our customers with more ideas, thoughts and stories, adding more sentiment and social values to the concept. (At a later stage), we are also thinking of using salvaged materials that we can find from our factory – for instance, the tulles and the chiffons. We will try to use more materials like these. My goal is to eventually produce my collection entirely from salvaged materials.
Speaking of stories. What made you decide to base the collection on Justine, the heroine of Marquis de Sade’s novel Justine ou Les Malheurs de la Vertu?
I have always been fascinated with the idea of libertinism – in contrast to our traditional values – and how it inspired the French Revolution. But only in recent years with things that have happened in my life that I’ve truly grasped the concept . I am not someone who tries to find a concept to justify my design. It is always me having a concept first before I even start to imagine how my designs are. My design is my language to communicate my thoughts.
There are a lot of contrasts in the story. How did you visualise the duality of the character?
The juxtapositions are done through different textures and materials of the pieces. Also in terms of the styling and design, for instance with a very soft material, I will use a very rigid cut or smocking.
What about the choice of the materials and colours?
There is a lot of violence in the story. The use of different shades of red, fringes and raw hems are subtle implications of the violences. I used sheer material and some colours (pink and gingham) to imply innocence – how Justine’s character is very naive in her view of the world, the very fact that exposes her to brutality.
The garments offer a lot of flexibility to the wearer. Please tell us a bit about that.
There are a lot of fastenings and buckles in some of the designs, where you can unbutton or button to adjust the way of wearing. A good example is the pinafore with the buckle which can be worn at the front or back.
There quite some show of skin in the designs, yet there’s a modesty _ a lot like Justine. How did you obtain the balance?
The wearer will give the balance. I invite you to experiment and play with the garment and choose how much you want your skin to be revealed, questioning how comfortable you are having your true self exposed to the world, to people’s gaze.
Who is the Ultramarine girl?
Someone who puts more thought into what she wears, who is experimental, not shy to be who she wants. She is conscientious, aware and questions what it is to be a woman in this world at this time.
If you had to pick favourites from the collection, what would they be and why?
Lace pants with fringe, dress with buckle detail at the neck, tulle blouse with buttons fastening details on the sleeve and shoulder.