SHOWStudio: Design

Winner of the Somerset House SHOWstudio design competition, LCF graduate Sharen Kaur turns buccaneer to buckaroo.

Text by Caroline Abbotts

Interpreting a ‘pirate’ themed pattern design of a jacket by John Galliano, the Manchester-born designer’s sculpted panels mixing hides and suede transform the garment into a tailored hunt jacket for the well-groomed. The swirling array of brushed fur and gilded gold buttons crafts a landscape of surface through textures on the pirate as a primate inspired garment. In collaboration with photographer Michaela Bellizzi, the pair produced an Autumn/Winter collection shoot proposing a look for the jacket (Above main). In the competition judged by Nick Knight, Kaur’s final garment features in the SHOWstudio: Fashion Revolution exhibition. We caught up with the young designer to ask a bit about the creation of her complex clothescapes.

You were handpicked earlier this year to feature in the Creative Arts Directory 2009 for your use of textiles?
Sharen Kaur: Yeah, my main focus is surface I like garments to be visually alive. Usually I work with bright colours and hues. In my last collection I used devore layering light silks that built hue and texture (Image gallery). But with these, the weight of the fabric meant it was influenced by its surroundings, like the wind. Which is ok for summer, but for a winter garment, I wanted to use a denser fabric that gave more of a moulded fit to the body and was inspired by the weather.

The Galliano brief of ‘pirate jacket’ to your hunter theme was quite a jump, how did you get there?
Sharen Kaur: Well for me the brief created an adventure that I wanted to continue. I imagined a pirate’s life as a kind of primitive hunter and the photos began to tell a story of this role. I suppose the jacket fit is like protective armour to the body.

Yes, the garments close cut to the shape of the body and the material used, seems to reference skin; did this influence the use of hide in the garment?
Sharen Kaur: It did, yeah, I began by looking at the lines on the palm of the hands and feet, and I wanted to create a surface that imitated these erratic patterns. I had been working with hide and loved the range of tones that appeared naturally with no use of artificial dyes. I was also interested in the change in direction of the fur and how I could play with this.

Who would you say that the jacket is for?
Sharen Kaur: Well as I took on a primitive theme I wanted to create a fabric for the body that could almost act as a second skin. I see the garment as practical as skins have been used to keep humans warm for centuries. But at the same time its form hugging, so I see it as sexy and sophisticated.

So not as part of your average ‘pirate’s’ day wardrobe then?
Sharen Kaur: Haha well yeah I suppose it could be, but that was more the inspiration for the look.

SHOWstudio: Fashion Revolution is on until 20th December at Somerset House.

© by DazedDigital

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