I first met Kelly Shaw at the Capsule show at Paris Fashion Week. Finding out that she lived and worked in Hackney, not far from where I’m based, I knew that we had to work together some day. So, when this project came up, Kelly was the first person I spoke to.
I visited Kelly’s home, where she showed me through her s/s 16 collection. Perhaps obviously, it is much lighter and more stripped-back than the a/w 15 collection I saw in Paris , but it retains the fabulously wearable “Kelly Shaw” parachute dresses, and beautifully simple, oversize shapes paired with slogan t-shirts.
Also, still present, is Kelly’s long-standing collaboration with friend and artist, Jem Doulton , who, each season, creates a number of unique artworks inspired by Kelly's mood boards, and which forms her painterly printed fabrics. In this collection, Kelly describes how a visit to the 2014 Malevich exhibition at the Tate inspired her to take elements from Jem’s paintings and suspend them in clear space.
She wanted to ”juxtapose the perfect with the imperfect and create a connection between the inner and the outer… both sets suspended in space and time seeking to create a positive sense of self, one that acknowledges the beauty in the imperfections.”
This minimal aesthetic helps to create a lightness, which when paired with the layers of fine, organic, Indian cotton, makes for the perfect summer dress. I'm looking forward to getting started with my illustrations.
Note: When I contacted her, Kelly had just finished shooting for her look-book (pictures above). Kelly used model, A J Odudu, who is predominately a fitness blogger. I’m not sure if Kelly unconsciously moved away from conventional fashion prescripts, or if this was a deliberate decision to choose a positive body-image role model, and to promote diversity through skin colour. Either way, I very much approve, and will be taking this as a cue in the creation of my illustrations.
Keep checking back to see the outcomes of this project. You can follow my sketching progress on Instagram and I’ll be posting final illustrations on this blog throughout the next few months.