Femme De Rose Collection
Our second capsule collection for Femme De Rose, ‘Clans Originaux’, is very special to me. It challenged me as a designer creating my first pair of informal trousers (in the form of a playsuit) which was quite a unique experience. The more elaborate, intricate form of tailoring is second nature to me, whereas I find designing more understated pieces to be surprisingly more of a challenging task.
The Clans Originaux collection took shape thanks to another journey into the Victorian period, but this time looking more closely into Queen Victoria’s life including her (and hubby Prince Albert’s) style and interior preferences. The nineteenth century is an era that never disappoints when it comes to seeking inspiration. This period shaped the world we live in today, but most of all what draws me to this past era is how innovation, creativity and experimentation was encouraged in all walks of life and industries. Just that freedom to create, invent and explore is the same mindset I had when creating Clans Originaux.
The journey of this collection began with the discovery of Victorian literature, a volume published in Paris by J. Claude Fres. & Cie called ‘Clans Originaux’. The book is particularly intriguing as it raised controversy and speculation as to the origin of the clan tartan. Victorian writer and critic Lytton Strachey fuelled reasons to credit Queen Victoria and Prince Albert as founding the romantic reputation of the Highlands, but this caused much debate. The Royals must have made a large contribution to the popularity of clan tartans, at least for interiors, because the Prince decorated Balmoral Castle in the Scottish baronial style to create a Highland paradise with “every room [decorated with] tartan curtains, and tartan chair-covers, and even tartan linoleums” according to Strachey.
I found the Royal’s fascination with clans tartan intriguing and soon I too became quite fascinated by it. The starting point of the collection was sourcing silk tartan fabrics and it took off from there. Researching Balmoral Castle’s interiors, the curtains and plaid carpets filled with reds, blues and hints of yellow became the signature colors for the Clans Originaux collection. Studying the interior design of the castle, which Prince Albert personally designed himself, there was a masculine feeling that went hand in hand with the softly colored “romantic” tartan patterns.
Looking at the interior, I felt the connection between romance, masculinity and femininity and this was the “feel” I wanted for the collection. So it was imperative for me to infuse a bit of masculinity by including the playsuit.
The playsuit is the centre of the Clans Originaux collection, I would say, because it marries both the masculine and feminine elements that featured in Balmoral castle. To infuse a bit of modernity to our nineteenth century inspirations, I added a “belt” to the playsuit which adds another masculine element to its feminine colors and design. The belt, which is attached to the playsuit, is finished off with a shirt cuff at the end of it, something that was inspired by the re-emergence of the shirt-tied-loosely-around-the-waist look, which I borrowed but transformed into something more classic and demure. A perfect combination I feel for the modern, style savvy woman who seeks to investment in timeless understated luxury.