Ladies n Gents
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Posted on May 7 2013

You write that "Cunnington & Sanderson’s signature is to create emotional constructions, with the intent to make a connection with the wearer." So, what kind of feedback have you had from women who wear your creations?

That the construction of a garment can effect a person's posture, can make one feel attractive and confident - they talk about receiving compliments and attracting positive comments. Having a balance between comfort and ease of movement working harmoniously with tailoring and structure to provide a sculptural feminine silhouette. The garment becomes an expression of the wearer's personality.

When starting to work on a new collection, where do you draw inspiration from ?

At the beginning of a collection we start by deciding what emotions we want to evoke in the collection. Building together images, techniques, craft, texture, colour etc. Directly working on the mannequine to drape and manipulate materials to highlight all elements into one silhouette. So each garment holds within it its own characteristics and message.

In what way have your ideas and your philosophy about designing a collection evolved since you first started working?
The core element of producing a collection with a narrative still remains with us today, and is probably the most influential factor that governs our creativity.

Could you give me your personal definition of creativity ?
Creativity is our world, it provides happiness and satisfication when reaching a solution that captures the passion that we want to express.

self expression

Has there ever been a time in your life when an outfit that you wore has played a crucial role?
Every day - to encourage self confidence, creativity, individuality, comfort.  Clothes hold treasured memories - when you first meet someone, birthdays, weddings, business meetings, spending time with loved ones.

Which has been the biggest, and maybe most rewarding, challenge that you have
faced in your professional life so far?

One of our personal highlights was to be invited by the Villa Noailles in Hyere' s, to exhibit during the 27th Festival International de Mode et de Photographie. Having the help and support from the Villa Noailles team, working together to realize our vision. Having the opportunity to create and exhibit in such prestigious surroundings. An eternal gift.

In what way does a bad mood, or a melancholic feeling affect your creativity?
All types of emotions encourage our creativity - by driving our determination and provoking us to be more expressive and at the same time also more sensitive.

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Posted on Mar 16 2013

You have travelled a lot, so all these images, memories, places, do you apply them to your work? And how?
They are really about encounters, the smell of a country when you come out of the airport, taking the plane, being in nature… Last summer I met a very old man when I was in Tanzania. He had just climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, and was telling me his life story. These kind of encounters make my eyes sparkle. I could imagine a collection around this old man.

Who is the person who influenced you the most in fashion and designing?
My mother. I wanted to be a seamstress. We grew up drawing, painting and sewing (and playing Playmobile). Once for Christmas, I received a bag full of scraps of fabrics from a fashion designer of my city, it was the best present ever. I’ve been sewing and making things ever since.

How do you start every new collection? Which process do you follow?
It always starts with an impression. I picture the fabrics and textures that would create a larger picture. It is funny somehow, I feel like I create a movie set, with its mood, and place my characters there. I was reading National Geographic the other day, and there was an article about a snake catcher who was allergic to venom. I find this story pretty ironic, and I started drawing girls wearing colour block tailored suits in the jungle, catching snakes… Don’t ask me why.

Are there times that you feel you might be «losing» your inspiration while designing a collection?
I haven’t made anything consequent since I have graduated. But when I was at the Academy in Antwerp, yes, definitely, you reach a point very close to creative exhaustion… I tend to struggle between wanting to create a real concept behind the garments, the research in design and cut, and telling my story all along.
I have to filter the information.

What would you change in the fashion industry?
Just like the slow food movement, the freedom to do slow fashion? Let’s say Fashion with time to Breathe.

In your experience so far, what is it that people try to express through the clothes they choose: their wishes, or their life experience?
Their ideal world.

Do you have a garment, a specific one, that you are attached to? And did it have an important role in your life?
I get bored to dress every now and then. I love holiday in California kind of clothes. I like a long dress that blows in the hot desert wind.

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Posted on Jan 9 2013

After the Bazaar Fashion Forward 2012 award, what is now next? Has the award affected your own
expectations of yourself?

The problem is that after winning this award, everyone expects from you something new right now, everyone keeps up an eye on you. But you need time to grasp everything, and of course to find financial support to create collections from season to season. I made the decision to create small strong interesting projects instead of collections, as long as I am not stable  financially. Maybe I will take part in some fashion worldwide contest soon. I think I will do all in good time.

Would you describe the state of mind that designing a collection requires, in comparison to a collage?
Developing clothes for a collection is always a long and interesting journey with an unknown point of arrival. It equals huge expenditure of energy and a lot of work for the mind. Making collages for me is more fun than work. If I compare the two processes, definitely depletion comes after working on a collection.

What are the feelings that the creation of a collage bring out in you, that a collection doesn't? And the opposite?
I never thought about this. But I would't say that these feelings are that different. For me they are the same.

Are there motifs or themes that you always find yourself returning to, either when creating collages or when designing fashion?
Yes, I am always returning to making print themes in clothes. Now I developed new prints for my fashion project "splitting".

If there was one thing you could change about the fashion industry, what would it be?
Definitely, I would stop developing and promoting abnormal body proportions !

Which fashion designers did you admire while growing up? Was there someone you really looked up to?
In my childhood I remember there was this fashion program that I would record on a VHS every weekend. It was the only way to be in touch with worldwide fashion news. I was always in love with Dries Van Noten and Prada. Today, without fail I watch out for the collections of Christopher Kane, Derek Lam, Alexander Wang, Marni, McCartney, Philip Lim, Celine, Rodarte, Henrik Vibskov.

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Posted on Jan 6 2013

1. Evening dress, Charles James  (American, born Great Britain, 1906–1978) Date: 1946 Line: Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009;  Gift of Arturo and Paul Peralta-Ramos, 1954.
2. Dress Mariano Fortuny  (Spanish, Granada 1871–1949 Venice) Design House: Fortuny (Italian, founded 1906) Date: ca. 1936 Culture: Italian
Credit Line:
Gift of Mary Dana Wells, 1969.
3. Evening ensemble House of Schiaparelli  (French, 1928–1954) Designer: Hubert de Givenchy (French, born Beauvais, 1927) Date: ca. 1952 
Credit Line:
Gift of Mrs. Daisy Eric, 1973.
4. Jacket Pierre Cardin  (French, born 1922)  Date: ca. 1992  Line: Gift of Mrs. Calvert Bodman, 2007.
5. Dress Comme des Garçons  (Japanese, founded 1969) Designer: Rei Kawakubo (Japanese, born 1942) Date: 1985
Credit Line:
Gift of Susan K. Manno, 2005
6. Dress Date: ca. 1923  Credit Line:  Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Gift of Mrs. Dail Wolkowitz, 1982.

1. Dress,  Traina-Norell  (American, founded 1941)  Designer: Norman Norell (American, Noblesville, Indiana 1900–1972 New York City) Date: 1950s  Credit Line: Gift of Mrs. Sidney Bernard in the name of her sister, Mrs. Arthur Cole, 1972
2. Evening dress, George Peter Stavropoulos  (American, born Greece, 1920–1990) Date: 1960s  Credit Line: Gift of Sheila M. Wool, 1974
Evening dress, Yves Saint Laurent, Paris  (French, founded 1962) Designer: Yves Saint Laurent (French (born Algeria) Oran 1936–2008 Paris) Date: 1969–70 Credit Line: Gift of Baron Philippe de Rothschild, 1983
4. Ensemble Pierre Cardin  (French, born 1922) Date: 1973 Credit Line: Gift of Pierre Cardin, 1977
5. Evening dress, House of Dior  (French, founded 1947) Designer: Marc Bohan (French, born 1926) Date: fall/winter 1979–80
 Credit Line: Gift of Mireille Levy Lausanne, 1994

1. Dress James Galanos (American, born Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1924) Date: spring/summer 1963 Line: Gift of James Galanos, 1970
2. Overdress Date: 1800–1939 Credit Line: Gift of Mr. Lee Simonson, 1939
3. Rose Harry Gordon (American) Manufacturer: Poster Dress, Ltd. (British) Date: 1968 Credit Line: Purchase, Gould Family Foundation Gift, in memory of Jo Copeland, 2009
4. Jacket Azzedine Alaïa (French, born Tunisia, 1940) Date: 1984 Credit Line: Gift of Wendy Newman, 1999
5. Afternoon dress Madame Grès (Alix Barton) Date: 1937–39 Credit Line: Gift of Z. E. Marguerite Pick, 1978

1. Coat House of Balenciaga  (French, founded 1937) Designer: Cristobal Balenciaga (Spanish, 1895–1972) Date: ca.1965 Credit Line: Gift of Countess Edward Bismarck, 1981
2. Dressing gown Date: early 19th century Credit Line: Gift of the family of Thomas Coutts, 1908
3. Drape Danube Thierry Mugler  (French, born 1948) Date: 1980–88  Credit Line: Gift of Martine Trittoléno, 1989
4. Evening dress Mariano Fortuny (Spanish, Granada 1871–1949 Venice) Design House: Fortuny (Italian, founded 1906) Date: 1931  Credit Line: Gift of Miss Emily Chase, 1948
5. Dress House of Givenchy (French, founded 1952) Designer: Hubert de Givenchy (French, born Beauvais, 1927) Date: early 1960s  Credit Line: Gift of Kimberly Knitwear, Inc., 1974

1. Evening dress Zandra Rhodes (British, born 1940) Date: ca. 1966 Credit Line: Gift of Rosamond Bernier, 1994
2. Evening dress House of Balmain (French, founded 1945) Designer: Pierre Balmain (French, St. Jean de Maurienne 1914–1982 Paris) Date: 1953 Credit Line: Gift of Jean Sinclair Tailer, 1964
3. Dressing jacket Date: 1930–39 Credit Line: Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Gift of Mrs. Albert Ogden in memory of Sheldon Stewart, 1964
4. Dress Claire McCardell (American, 1905–1958) Date: 1953–57 Credit Line: Gift of The Estate of Phyllis Riehl Williams, 1996
5. Bustier Thierry Mugler (French, born 1948) Date: 1992 Credit Line: Purchase, Richard Martin Bequest, 2001

1. Slip Callot Soeurs (French, active 1895–1937) Date: 1927 Credit Line: Isabel Shults Fund, 1993
2. Evening dress Madame Grès (Alix Barton)  (French, Paris 1903–1993 Var region) Date: 1973–75 Credit Line: Bequest of Barbara C. Paley, 1978
3. Evening dress Bergdorf Goodman (American, founded 1899) Date: 1950–55 Credit Line: Gift of Mrs. James W. Fosburgh, 1977
4. Evening coat House of Balenciaga (French, founded 1937) Designer: Cristobal Balenciaga (Spanish, 1895–1972) Date: ca. 1965 Credit Line: Gift of The Family of Mrs. M. Lincoln Schuster, 1977
5. Dress Jean Paul Gaultier (French, born 1952) Date: 1986 Credit Line: Purchase, Gould Family Foundation Gift, in memory of Jo Copeland, 2009

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