Theatre de la Mode


16 Monday 16th August 2010


Theatre de la Mode launched in AW07 with their accidental first collection, the mini-mannequins, with perfectly-to-scale costumes. Designer Chris, initially planned on working for other labels before launching his own, but the mini-mannequins snowballed and they grew and grew in popularity. Now three years on, TdlM are launching their AW10 collection at the No-One boutique on Kingsland Road, the first store to champion them when they were a fledging brand.
Designer Chris is a graduate of the University of Derbyshire, and proves that you don't have to be University of the Arts alumnus to make it big. Focusing on the fluidity of melding theatre and fashion, for the SS11 show, TdlM collaborated with filmmaker Camilla Robinson. “We always show via film or installations. Catwalk is very samey.”
The inspiration for the AW10 collection came from the artist Thayat, thus designing the pieces in this collection in a utilitarian way, achieving perfect symmetry and avoiding curved lines. One of the signatures of TdlM is the draping, and the attention to the detail and craft is shown by the creation of the symmetrical drape. Another signature is the hand painted design, which is done every season. This season is the tessellated rectangles, symmetrical but also not quite right, “to mess with your head.”
The collections are men's unisex – “Because when you label clothes 'unisex', you effectively alienate the men, so we cater for them and have the broad appeal.”
Everyone's favourite fashion blogger, Susie Bubble has been following them from the beginning and they have a huge following in Japan, with stand-alone stores and their lookbooks winning awards for their graphic design.
What's coming up next? Chris is creating a short film for Natalie Sharp, a performer and taxidermist, who created the Theatre de la Mode installation at No-One, which is going to be Natalie's next music video for her single Bijou Boy.
For SS11, drawing on Chris's favourite animal, the goldfinch, TdlM are inspired by birds in contorted yoga positions, “and now creating that into a collection is the interesting part.”
Words for us young ones? “Stick your finger in every pie,” advises Chris. “Learn as much as you can, in all aspects of fashion, the common pitfalls and issues. If you can see the mistakes happening, you'll know how to avoid them.”
Quirky, multi-faceted and unpredictable, I look forward to seeing a sparrow doing a downward dog next year.


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