The focus of research centred on Picasso’s ‘les demoiselles d’Avignon’, 1907 (1881-1973), a point in history where Modernism within fine art was born. This work, is in direct contrast with Shaina Craft’s series ‘Experiments in Flesh’ (www.shainacraftart.com) contemporary paintings where digital art is blurred with traditional painting; where images are overlaid in the essence of cubism’s original concepts in a relief of shadows, ghosts and movement. Both artists have influenced the feeling and essence of evening gowns, cocktail dresses and separates; whereas ‘les demoiselles’ uses geometry and sharp angles in seductive and bold strokes, Craft’s work influences the fluidity and feminine sensuality. Both though, echo the DNA of the brand, highlighting the paradox that is womanhood, in all its beautiful guises, in its strength and in vulnerability. These traits have influenced the collection, which comes together using principles from cubism and the layered abstracted silhouettes to demonstrate the undressing of the female form, using the body as a landscape for combinations of colour and texture, using wool crepes, antique silk obi, double silk marrocains, shimla silks and rich Thai silks as linings, making the experience of wearing a piece of Lesley de Freitas Couture, the epitome of understated luxury.
Flora S/S13, was inspired by the air of ostentatious glamour and elegance that was Palm Springs c.1960’s/70’s and is a reaction to the very dark political and financial crisis we are experiencing, having made a conscious decision to go against all the black being shown in Paris.; a refreshing and optimistic collection, comprising of day wear which seamlessly flows through to eveningwear, in a veneer of bright sugary hues, underpinned by a steely, more serious side. When I thought of optimism, my mind immediately conjured the white heat of the Kennedy era in American politics, and the first lady Jacqueline Kennedy; a supremely stylish woman, a style icon of our times who loved couture and excess, especially in her days as an Onassis. I began reading about Jackie Kennedy’s life at the White House, and her choices for her official wardrobe, which went against conventional fashion of the time, choosing instead a more simplistic, relaxed silhouette. She turned to Oleg Cassini, an American designer, whose mother tongue was French, and was in turn, a man very well versed in 18th & 19th Century European Culture. It was because of his cultural understanding, that she knew he would understand colour in exact terms. She was hugely influenced by colour and clean lines, practiced so effortlessly by Balenciaga and Givenchy, her favored Couturiers; all these factors have played a huge part in the mood and realisation of “FLORA”, as well as the essence of that time, of balmy and breezy Palm Springs in 1960’s/70’s. Elements of the collection take their cue from historical magazines featuring advertising by Balenciaga and Hubert de Givenchy, with bright brocades, old gold and rich embroideries updated with a dialogue which plays with an abstracted floral leitmotif, negative space and layering. “FLORA” is available for bespoke orders, prices on application.
From an introduction to Bill Viola’s work by Howard Tangye and a subsequent discovery of the writings of ‘St John of the Cross’, which so eloquently portrays abject isolation, devotion, loyalty and love, for the Love of God, would lead me to rediscover ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’ and ‘Love in the Time of Cholera’ by Gabriel Garcia Marquez'; looking at isolation, particularly Spanish Culture but from a South American/Caribbean perspective.