Mythological and Pre-Raphaelite Inspirations for ESAA Duperré Chloé Jauffrineau Collection
Calliope, daughter of Zeus, Father of Gods and men, is believed to have inspired the two oldest novels of Western literature: Homer’s Iliad and its sequel the Odyssey.
The hero the Odyssey, Odysseus renamed Ulysses by the Romans, faces the Sirens, mythological creatures who lured with their enchanting voices, sailors to shipwreck on their island. Originally, two, then five, the Sirens were creatures of the air, half humans, half birds. The Roman tradition however, increased their association with the sea and eventually, Sirens became Mermaids, aquatic creatures with the upper body of a woman. The best known Siren today is that described by Hans Christian Andersen in his 1836 fairy tale: The Little Mermaid.
Calliope is also the name of ESAA Duperré Chloé Jauffrineau BTS collection designed in 2012. The use of Lycra, a fluid and slippery material worked in different ways to structure it, allows her garment to follow the lines of the body, revealing womanly curves and feminine sensuality. Hips and back are highlighted by complex textures. The clothes become a second skin, a skin hybrid.
Chloé, what is the origin of your collection Calliope?
I love the Pre-Raphaelite paintings and the mythological influences to which they refer. I naturally used a painting by William Waterhouse representing a Siren/Mermaid as visual reference for my project.
How did you use this visual reference?
I love when my projects tell stories; I looked into that of the Siren and I chose to tell it through the three creatures that emerged from it: woman, bird and fish. I methodically separated them and focused on the symbolic value for each – hair, feathers and scales – and selected my colour palette accordingly with flesh colour, red and blue-grey. The elements resulting from this deconstruction were then reassembled to create a mythical silhouette.
Did you design this collection with a special person or client in mind?
This collection was designed as part of the diploma project for my BTS. My primary objective was to create clothes that I wanted to wear and incorporated Lycra material. People from the industry have praised how I have been able to turn a relatively low-end material such as Lycra, into up-market garments.
Watching people trying the garments, I realised that my typical client would be a woman who loves her body and asserts her femininity. She could be a dancer for example, who would appreciate the comfort and freedom of movement the garment allows.
Can you describe your creative process?
I realized that the notion of evolution, of transformation, often comes back in my projects. Therefore I chose to rely on the evolution of the Siren from feathered to scaled human hybrid. The transformation in colours and shapes became the keys to my creative process.
I tried through my material research to find ways to evoke the bird, fish, and various stages of transition from one to another through different techniques, including through pleats. In ancient Greece hair was a strong symbol of femininity. I experimented with various ways to recreate hair mesh with lycra by testing with braiding, basketry etc…
I then had to develop a collection plan. I tried to reinvest and reuse my research samples as much as possible while creating a coherent collection of 30 outfits. There I experimented with scale.
The design process requires designers to makes choices which all affect the outcome: it helps to keep in mind the original concept of the collection at those time to confidently move forward.
What advice would you give those wishing to pursue a career in fashion?
Whilst creativity is important, studying fashion requires rigor: you must be organized and hard working.
A fashion student must be willing to devote her/himself fully to her/his passion, not only when studying but through every aspect of life.
What to you hope to achieve in the next few years?
I am currently studying for my first year of DSAA fashion (Diplôme Supérieur d’Art Appliqué) at the ESAA Duperré. The objective of this training is to develop a personal universe and a unique approach to fashion traversing disciplines of applied arts and design. We also develop a thesis, which is a different way of learning and which is especially rewarding.
After this course, I would like to have the opportunity to produce a new collection by joining a one-year course either at the IFM (Institut Français de la Mode), or through a professional license (equivalent to a BA). I hope the work I’ll design then will be noticed at a major fashion competition to help me get the best job possible.
In the near term my goal is to find an internship with a prestigious fashion house … and also to make the most of my years of study and experiment with a maximum of ideas.
What memories will you keep from your course?
I have only good memories of my time at Duperré so far. I have learned a lot, I have met fascinating people and there is a great working dynamic. Even sleepless nights, working through significant workload turn into good memories – especially when you have the satisfaction of seeing your project completed. Time is always tight and the biggest constraint…