'Three Coats' by Siv Støldal and Ruth Hogben, at SHOWstudio
AW 2008-09 / Three Wardrobes
SS 2008 / High Visibility
AW 2007-08 / Cover Up
SS 2007 / Camouflage
AW 2006-07 / Seasonal/Effective/Disorder
SS 2006 / Sportswear
AW 2005-06 / Dress Up/Down
SS 2005 / Outside/In
AW 2004-05 / Disguise
AW 2003-04 / Trace
For Autumn/Winter 2004/5, Siv Støldal builds upon an existing reputation as a creative force with a consistently thoughtful, playful and inventive approach to her work. DISGUISE finds its inspiration in costumes of yester-year; specifically, it was the designer's memories of home-made costumes being fashioned for special occasions - from worn-out and discarded garments, long-since gathering dust - which acted as the catalyst. Their transformation from being sad-rags that were no longer used - let alone cherished - to becoming glad-rags that could be amazing and attention-grabbing, proved to be intriguing. After all, with various changes and adornments these formerly unattractive and un-loved items could effect a total about-turn; becoming extreme, commanding awe.
Seeking to find sartorial middle-ground between these perceived opposites of normal and other-worldly, the designer proposes a collection that offers slightly-decorative garb, contrasted largely by a mono-colour palette. Here, it is possible to find garments that celebrate elements of dressing-up or disguise, while retaining the identity of 'proper' clothing, rather than fanciful costume.
Wool felt, a fabric often used in the creation of costumes, has been utilised for traditional tailor-made jackets - though their purple hue adds an unexpected twist to a familiar shape. Fringes, derived from Red Indian costumes, have been craftily applied to mono-colour sweat shirts, in addition to traditional white shirts - again, making everyday garments a tad more dashing. Trench coats, in grey multi-coloured felts, retain their standard elements - buttoned flaps upon the sleeves, loose front yokes that can be buttoned down, distinctive pockets - but have been deconstructed in order to take on the shape of a bomber jacket. The Trench is, therefore, 'disguised' as a bomber jacket, then further redefined via the use of a costume-like fabric. Similarly, Trench coat/biker jacket hybrids again demonstrate this pleasing-confusion - two types of clothing appearing simultaneously as one. The latter garments are rendered, however, in purple-ish multi-coloured felt, of the ilk typically used to make art-handling blankets and wrap paintings within - thus reducing their status to mere objects, and disguising their true nature.
Further nods and winks to dressing up and all things costume-kooky can be found in digitalised prints of dated masks, comedy spectacles, wigs, lips and Red Indian accessories, which were rediscovered - cobweb-strewn and forlorn - in the designer's grand-parents' attic. These images have been duly printed, life-size, over fabrics that are then used to make suits, skiing jackets and trousers. Needless to say, the urge to disguise and impulse to transform have never looked quite so appealing.