Kimberley-Anne Vowels follows the contours of the female silhouette, elongated with floor length gowns, shapely bust cup and slim fit dresses. Style lines are slick and severe with a prominent architectural shape and texture is current throughout. The 22-year old British designer showed her graduate collection ‘From Russia With love’ at the Free Range Fashion Shows at The old Truman Brewery in Brick Lane last week.
Kimberley-Anne, what is the name of this collection and why?
‘From Russia With Love’ is a collection named after my trip to St. Petersburg last summer. The name is fitting to the collection as I feel the garments capture the Russian style, the lavish façades and the warmth of the city.
What has inspired you for this collection?
St. Petersburg architecture being the focus for my designs I have developed a palette from the rich colours on view, specifically gold. Style lines have been created from the sharp, strong structures in the city and finally their excessive nature shines through in my overuse of gold, opulent headpieces and jewellery and choice of fabrics.
What did you like most about St. Petersburg?
I went last summer for my final collection. I loved that I had never seen anything like it before, there was so much colour, detail and I was fascinated by how everything was over the top: completely unlike our Britain, it was very refreshing.
Also, the people I stayed with were very welcoming and allowed me to really immerse myself in their culture. I ate their food, had champagne and vodka for breakfast and attempted to learn their language.
What is your design signature?
My signature look usually consists of sharp style lines, with a strong, distinctive, feminine shape. I love a rich palette, and am very drawn to gold at the moment.
What materials did you use in your collection?
A real range of fabrics, from iridescent plum brocade and gold lamé, navy, black and olive wools and felts, gold and black beaded lace and multi-tonal tuelles.
What’s the Kimberley-Anne Vowels-women like?
She is a strong and confident woman, aged 20-30, with no fear of what people think. She has a good disposable income, looking for quality, feminine shapes and personality in her clothing.
What music were you playing in your studio while creating this collection?
Well, there was quite a mixture as a few of us in class have quite different tastes: there was a lot of Queen, a bit of 50 Cent and our catwalk music. At home, when pattern cutting, I am more of a drum and bass fan, I like DJ Fresh, Katy B. this kind of music makes me feel really energetic and gets me in the mood to work.
You say: ‘ Style lines are taken from architectural shapes and textural fabric originates from the pyramid sculptures .’ – How did the inspiration with the pyramides come about?
The pyramid sculptures came mainly from the Cathedral of Spilled blood building. The domes were covered with small pyramid shapes, and coated with gold plaiting, translating into style lines and also inspiring me to create my poppered jacket, adding the same texture the domes displayed.
What should the wearer feel like in your clothes?
I want the clothes to evoke empowerment to the wearer.
What is your favourite piece of the collection and why?
My poppered jacket, it certainly took the longest, it is covered with 1500 poppers which i hand poppered on and it weighs an absolute ton.
If the collection was a country – what land would that be?
It would have to be Russia.
What have you had for breakfast?
Usually I don’t have time for breakfast because I’m always on the go but this morning I had a marmite swirl and a slice of lemon meringue pie with leftovers from father’s day meal. So random!
Where do you see yourself in five years time?
I have just began my new job with designer Ashley Isham, so I would like to build up lots of experience there and when I’m confident enough I would like to start my own company. So in five years time I would say I would love to own a successful eveningwear brand.
The collection’s St Petersburg splendour theme is provocative, sleek and has a show-off quality.