Saturday, 28 November 2009

Reiss Autumn/Winter 09/10 - Womenswear

Design Project: University of Leeds
Sample of work produced

Trend Research: 'Scarytale' and the city of York.

Trend images from, collection images from and, York images are my own photographs.

Scarytale Analysis:

Scarytale presents us with a distorted vision of a child’s fairytale. It is warped, almost to the point of being grotesque but this strangeness inspires shadowy glamour and an ethereal sense of luxury. There is a focus on black magic which suggests trickery and deception; things are not always what they seem so expect the unexpected. Pigs heads atop female bodies and disfigured dolls illustrate the sinister and distorted aesthetic which dominates the trend, but from this twisted fairytale a quirky, unspoken beauty can be drawn. Illustrations of Alice in Wonderland introduce innocence and emphasise the playfulness of this twisted world and its preoccupation with the bizarre. Church graveyards, ghostly woods and ominous birds show the influence of the gothic on this trend. The sense of horror and danger enriches the trend, but instead of playing victim, the woman herself is to be feared. The classic damsel in distress stereotype is abandoned and the woman is an alluring siren empowered within this dark fantasy.
The colour palette includes mystifying blues which have an alien quality. Ghostly tones of grey and green dominate much of the palette. They give a vaporous effect in lightweight translucent fabrics creating an other-worldliness, perhaps suggesting the aura of the wearer. Warmer colours such as rust and ginger add depth. Plum and deep red imbue the type of glamour associated with vampires. These gothic hues come together to provide a dramatic selection that is both moody and mysterious.
The element of distortion central to this trend translates to silhouettes of unusual proportions, which challenge expectations. Voluminous skirts achieved through bubble hems, layering and tiered styles create a dramatic impact which is fitting. Shoulders can be accentuated for an imposing, otherworldly look with sleeves which are manipulated with gathers and padding, or reshaped to take on a squared, boxy structure which looks as if it binds the wearer. Peculiar proportions can also be achieved through very gothic, slim-line, floor length skirts. These elongate the body shape to the extreme and suggest a playful reference to Morticia Adams.
I have included a corresponding trend from Textile View Magazine alongside the Scarytale trend from It is entitled ‘Dark Romance’, and the name alone echoes the concepts found within Scarytale. Dark Romance has the same focus on the gothic look; black dominates and textures such as lace, ‘spider web knits’ and jacquards are suggested which add rich detail but also suggest mystery in their subtlety.
Scarytale is for a woman who embraces individuality and is not afraid to go against the norm. The bizarre aesthetic this trend strives towards belongs to a playful character who is also sophisticated enough for the luxe glamour it inspires. I therefore think Scarytale is well suited to Reiss and its target market. Its slick and sleek identity would take on this gothic twist well for a contemporary and exciting range. The sumptuousness of this mystifying and bizarre inspiration suggests female empowerment which suits the confident and strong woman Reiss caters to.

Design work: Focus on women's coats and jackets.

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