“Influences include photographer Wilhelm von Gloeden – he took pictures of young peasant boys as nude Greek male statues. Italian fascists destroyed 2,000 of his glass plates.”
Hi Sam. Tell us about the inspiration behind your collection
“It’s called Decadence and Decay. It’s based on the story of the demise of Henry Paget, the 5th Duke of Anglesey. He had a massive fortune but was extremely frivolous. He spent most of the family money on clothes and jewels, squandering the family estate and fortune. He was exiled to France and everything had to be sold off.”
Other influences are the late 19th century photographer Wilhelm von Gloeden. He had a villa in Taormina and took pics of young peasant boys in his village posing as nude Greek male statues. Italian fascists destroyed 2,000 of his glass plates. I was initially attracted to the quiet subtlety of the romantic poses with sumptuously draped figures portrayed in a non-sexually aggressive way.”
As a counterpoint to this, I was inspired by the work of Czech photographer Jan Saudek, whose models are adorned in light antique lace and stockings which have then been hand-touched with bright colours, juxtaposed with the dark, dingy and dilapidated walls of the basement in which they are shot.”
How would you describe the clothes?
“Garments are loose and unstructured, simple forms with intricate, delicate constructional aspects. The clothes are worn in a déshabillé sense. Pieces will be layered to form a look of lightweight fabrics with a spattering of broken stripes and fragmented lace. The silhouette will be long and languid, shrunken at the hems in trousers, sitting high on the waist and elongated sleeves to accentuate a longer arm, echoing my own body proportions.”
Colours are inspired by the hazy gaudiness of the film Pink Narcissus: shades of peachy pinks and embellishments of gold- fresh yellows muddied with brown bases and rich shades of red and plums”
All the fabrics are deliberately destroyed and aged. The idea is of the Marquess decorating himself in whatever he can now find in his new setting, to grasp at the life he once lived. Looks include a single panel of lace that has been cut away and twisted on the stand. I peeled away at the sun-bleached lace velvet trousers and to create a print effect I used lace. The idea is that the garments have been sitting outside in the sun with the lace bleaching into the trousers.”
I absolutely HAD to do a gown. In one of the von Goeden images there is a gown. I have made a wrap-front gown made of silk muslin which is thinnest fabric in world, hand dyed and raw finished – I’m currently hand stitching 150 dried flowers onto it!”
Above: On the gold stripe smock shirt, Ideveloped an appliqué way of attaching the cuffs, hems and plackets in a deliberately naive way.
Above: The jumper suit look is based on an Amy Arbus photograph famous for NY streetsyle picture. I tried to remake that and then I bleached it so it was a see-through gingham check, with a pinch in the back of the trousers.”
How have you found the course?
“It’s hard work! You’re not going to do the course if you just want to hang out – you come to do work. The things you get out of it are amazing. The first year is the basics, design development and making. When I came I hadn’t used a sewing machine! They refine you in the second year and get you ready for placement, which I think is the most important part of the course.”
In the final year, first years help you from around January. The staff match you with someone who suits your work.”
Where did you do your placement?
“I went to Alex Mullins in London and while there I got a second placment at Devon Halfnight Leflufy in Antwerp. His work is the polar opposite to Alex’s. Devon is into tailoring, sportswear and is obsessed with the dark web.”
If I didn’t do my placements I’d be screwed. It gives you perspective and shows the you reality of what you’re doing. Things like how to organise a day with people working for you”
“I want to work for a bit and earn some money back and then I want to intern for a bigger company – my dream is to work for Martin Margiela in Paris as I really want to work under John Galliano.”
Sam studied Fashion with Business Studies BA(Hons)