When the à la Disposition invitation arrived, it opened the floodgates to a universe of childhood fairytales. Just like clowns in the box, misfit cubes jumped out of the envelope, suggesting the world of Andersen, the Grimms, Hoffmann and attics full of treasures. Location of the presentation: the Crush Room of the Royal Opera House, instantly evoking opulent crushed velvet, the dimmed light of chandeliers and golden gildings on white stuccoes. Walking into the opera after endless fashion shows held in the same claustrophobic spaces was liberating; a first glimpse into the room revealed mannequins on revolving pedestals, gently spinning on carillon music. After walking around to admire these ‘M!sf!t Toys’, I had the chance to meet Lynda and Daniel Kinne, the husband-and-wife team behind à la Disposition.
The Adel Roostein mannequins were uncanny misfits, sure, but the designers were no villain puppet-makers: rather, they are the benevolent tailors who cherish their creatures – when I asked Daniel to pose in front of his favourite look from the collection, he was rather puzzled because “it is like having to choose a favourite child.”
-Misfit toys at the Royal Opera House – why?
-First of all, we wanted to do an off-site show. We wanted to do our own show for the first time and it’s always hard to find a good location. We used to show at the Vauxhall Fashion Scout, at the Freemason’s Hall, and then there is obviously Somerset House. But the Royal Opera happens to be right in between! People don’t even realize it literally takes five minutes to walk here, either way. And yes, misfit toys – we have so many collections on the way and ideas for collections kind of backed up that it has actually been on the back of our minds for a couple of years. What we really wanted to do with this collection is taking our signature cutting and construction and making it as light as we possibly could. And that is really a challenge for us, as we are very autumn-winter brand. Our trademarks are a lot of construction, a lot of drama, a lot of layering – I think many designers, like us, struggle with the lighter season because lighter fabrics allow you less freedom when it comes to structure and construction. You can’t make anything out of them! So we really worked on this concept for a while, where everything has to be very light, a lighter structure for wearable designs – well, if you are the right type of girl, someone who wants to create their own narrative, we always aim for that. The misfit toys: these guys are a bunch of misfits really, in the opera house. For the inspiration, it ranged from where adults would keep their drawings, to what would happen if something at the factory went wrong, and all these pieces were somehow accidental…
-So it is uncanny.
-Oh, it’s tongue-in-cheek, always. Also the way we worked with pixels - the pixellation of the images that is happening today. We had a pair of breeches, which we always like to do, and decided to go and kind of megapixellate them, with chunky pixels, and then coned shoulders; as ideas, as mathematical pieces. For fun, and for the challenge!
-How did you find or choose the curator/producer?
-That’s obviously a very quintessential aspect, and I really must credit Miller Khavari Productions for the excellence of the result and the guidance they provided, I mean for an admittedly still small brand, that we are, it was quite amazing to work with them as they do really major shows. We literally met them online! It couldn’t have worked out better. They were so kind, and gracious from the beginning. It was a fantastic experience, and quite unconventional I think.
-Did you have any insight on the layout as well?
-Of course, we designed it together in the spirit of the collection.
-How did they let you have the ROH?
-It’s publicly allowed! They let all the spaces. I mean they have a fantastic runway space, one of the big ones, it’s massive! But you can also rent the rest.
-I loved your invitation, for once it was not just flat fancy cardboard, and it also set the mood for the show instantly. How does that represent the spirit of your brand?
-We like to go a bit… more. Fashion is so exciting. Why only do the regular thing! That’s not what we are in the business for. Come on, let’s have fun. We do try our best. But it is also a bit of a risk, of course. The invitation was very cool – what if the show was not good enough? As a designer, you end up having these moments of doubt.
Well, contrarily to Daniel’s last minute fears, the collection really popped. Not only was it unique in the London Fashion Week schedule, something in between a presentation, a performance, a ballet happening, a spectacle: the designs, beautifully enhanced by the vibrant hued wigs and the doll make-up, were just as unique, with their prismatic cuts and almost invisible stripes and patterns glowing under the uneven and dancing light of projectors and chandeliers. It was already with a sense of nostalgia that I left the Crush Room, the mixture of childhood fairytales and the sheer beauty of these clothes having to go back to the box, at least for the time being.
Many thanks again to Lynda and Daniel for their kind words, their availability and, last but not least, their remarkable collection.
Photos and interview Isa Jakob20 September 2012 Leave a Comment