So here's the story ...
I got an FB message from Fabio mid-August. He and his design partner, Rebecca Diele, wanted to see if I'd be interested in collaborating with them on jewelry and accessories for their Spring/Summer 2014 collection. After doing a great big happy dance around my studio, I wrote back with a hearty affirmative.
The collection would be inspired by an avant garde interpretation of Alice in Wonderland with a nod to Gothic/Victorian ornament - that's where I came in. They wanted my take on locks and keys ... shapes and profiles that referenced the period, but with a KVK spin. We had several Skype calls, which at first seemed surreal, but were always productive and remarkably easy. Let's just say that Skype-ing with someone I got to know first on TV is a very strange thing. I'm really glad Rebecca was there ... I think I would have been much more nervous if it had been just me and Fabio.
They wanted stand-alone pieces but also elements that could be sewn onto the garments. We started off thinking of using silver, but soon realized the high cost didn't make sense, especially since the price of their garments are a long way from high-end and the budget of their fledgling brand was pretty tight. They wanted the look of silver, so I decided on using bronze with a faux finish of gilders paste.
Here's the un-gilded bronze pieces ...
There was a bit of a learning curve with everything I was doing. I'd never worked with such large bronze pieces and my initial prototypes didn't fully sinter. I ended up firing everything twice at higher temps and for twice as long as normal. Then there was the challenge of learning how to use the gilders paste and then throw in long distance communications and a fast approaching deadline.
So I had all the components ... now how would I fashion them into jewelry? They wanted things to connect with long draping chains, which could be crazy expensive. I found a nice silver plated rolo chain that had a good visual weight and was reasonably priced.
Here's the direction we decided on ...
Then it was just a matter of finalizing how we would use the components ... we had five keys and eight locks. They decided on two necklaces with the lock/key combinations, one with just a key. One key would be on a 60" length of chain to drape and wrap around a shoulder, one would be on a shorter double chain that would drape from the waist to a pocket, like a watch chain. The remaining six locks would be stitched as accents onto the garments. I'd also made a bunch of rectangular rings that would be used as buckles.
Somewhere in the final call or two, Fabio asked if I was coming to the show ... Huh? Well, I hadn't really thought about it ... I mean, really. Portland ... for the weekend ... really? That's where many of you come in ... THANK YOU for participating in my sale and making this trip possible.
Hanging out backstage before our runway was a blast. I sat on the floor sewing on snaps, repairing seams that split after a model tried to squeeze into a dress, stitching up blind hems, wiring a key to the back of one of the men's pieces, eating gorp while chatting with another PR alum, Giordana, watching Seth Aaron put finishing touches on his editorial collection, meeting Season 11 winner Michelle Lezniak, watching other Project Runway designers Michael Costello and Joshua Christensen getting ready to show collections and Becky Ross and Gretchen Jones cruising around and just being part of the chaos and magic that happens backstage before a fashion runway show.
So here are the finished pieces on the runway of FASHIONxt in Portland, OR. Images are by Hal Harrison of Rose City Photography and Sara Thompson. You can see the full collection in Fabio's S/S 2014 FB album here or on this FASHIONxt Galleries page.
After the runway, there was a "meet & greet" market hour. Here I'm helping Rebecca close up this crazy invisible zipper.
Fabio was grabbing all the necklaces off the models and putting them on. Add that to the sterling versions I made as gifts for him and Rebecca and you've got some serious layering of KVK jewels ...
And finally, the best team of collaborators a designer could ever hope for ... Fabio Costa and Rebecca Diele of NotEqual (apologies for crazy lighting and blurry image)
I am one lucky girl ... blessed beyond measure.
l i g a - kvk