'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

Project / Cover Up
Project / Trace

Collaboration / Fred Perry

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DISGUISE
A/W 04/05

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.

Text: James Anderson

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