Laser-cut leather, wetsuit material and antique metal all feature in designer Damien Fredriksen Ravn's Spring Summer 2013 collection inspired by armour.
An Austrian book called Meisterwerke der Hofjagd und Rüstkammer (Masterpieces of Arms and Armour) influenced the materials, shapes and techniques used in the collection.
"I wanted to bring medieval armour into our present without it being too literal or rigid," Ravn told Dezeen. "A balance of soft and hard is always important for me in my work because they both support and enhance one another."
Exaggerated folds at the shoulder seams create volume in the sleeves to look like medieval plate armour, a theme further expressed by panels of metallic-coated jersey fabric.
"The armours of the past have an incredible attention to detail and craftsmanship to them, but for me it's about paying attention to a particular cut and translating craftsmanship in my own way," he said.
The tunic and kimono are hand-woven from strips of antique metal and a variety of lustrous ribbons to resemble chain mail.
"After the shape was intact the ribbons were weaved in and sewn one by one, which turned out to be challenging as we were dealing with a vast amount of different types of ribbons; silk velvets, antique french metals, metallic sequins and so on, which naturally fall and move extremely differently," Ravn explained, also noting that the majority of his collection has been hand sewn.
Breathable neoprene, which is usually used for wetsuits, and other hi-tech fabrics employed throughout the collection were supplied by Belgian company Liebaert.
Details have been created by laser-cutting patterns into metallic leather. "The laser cutting was added as a reference to the intricate metalworks of the armours, but in an easy way that won't dominate the look of the collection," said Ravn.
The metallic-coated materials contrast with silks used in pastel shades for skirts.
The neoprene tops are hemmed with black velvet ribbon at the neck and cuff, while other outfits are finished with detachable collars.
Special-edition silver platform shoes with black-patent ankle straps are designed in collaboration with Underground Shoes, and the collection also includes a range of shiny clutch iPad cases.
Photography is by Koen Vernimmen.
More information from the designer below:
The collection is inspired by the austrian book 'Meisterwerke der Hofjagd und Rüstkammer' ('Masterpieces of Arms and Armour'). I wanted to bring the medieval armour to our present without being too literal or rigid. A literal translation of historical elements always seems like costumes for me and newer has a renewed feeling to it. The armours of the past have an incredible attention to detail and craftsmanship to them, but for me it's about paying attention to a particular cut and translating craftsmanship in my own way. Being contemporary is always a priority to me. A soft/hard balance is always important for me in my work because they both support and enhance one another.
A worked closely together with the Belgian company Liebaert, which specializes in hi-tech fabrics, among others the breathable 3D ‘spacer' neoprene which I also used for the Biennale Interieur uniforms. In fact all my fabrics, apart from the silk velvets and the coated jersey, are supplied by Liebaert. They started making elastic bands for braces and suspenders in 1887 and has since expanded worldwide. Today they are one of the world's top producers of delicate lingerie fabrics and hi-tec fabrics for medical, sports and industrial purposes. The specific fabric I used is called a 'spacer' and consist of a double layer of lycra knitted with millions of standing polyester threads in between that separates the fabrics and creates a 3D effect similar to neoprene, but without the traditional foam which doesn't breathe. The spacer breathes, reduces heat build-up and has a very low weight compared to traditional neoprene, so in many ways it's like a luxurious version of neoprene.
As a continuation from ss12 I have focused on laminating fabrics and this season I laminated precious silk velvets together with the hi-tech ‘spacer’ to get the armour look. The lamination is done by hand at the studio and requires lots of work and patience since the fabrics are so incredibly different. The silk velvets are extremely fine and fragile whilst the spacer is thick and heavy in comparison. After a sheet of double-sided adhesive paper is ironed to the spacer they are carefully steamed together and bonded; a process that is very time consuming. I also experimented with laser-cut leather, in metallic hues and black patent, which also gives a modern wearable aspect of the armour. The laser cutting was made to add a reference to the intricate metalworks of the armours, but in an easy way that won't dominate the look of the collection. Bonding leather was also important for me.
Feminine contrasts arrive in pastel colored latex, metallic coated jerseys, and nude lycras and nylon. Latex was a completely new material for me and, though difficult at the beginning, it was a pure pleasure to work with in the end. There are so many ways to work with it and I love the clean finishing it has when it's just cut raw with a roller cutter. It's definitely a material I would like to continue working with. I also love the contrast of doing a feminine shape in a cotton candy pink in a material that's commonly perceived as rather kinky. All the latex pieces are finished with velvet ribbons to add a high end finishing to a material with an unfortunate reputation. I wanted to use materials mainly intended for underwear to balance the rigidness of the more constructed pieces. Intricately woven pieces in hand-cut metallic leather or variations of silk velvet and antique ribbons also add a soft spin to the original chainmail.
As I regard myself as a minimalistic maximalist I also wanted the collection to stay very clean and minimal with attention to materials and details; much like the armours of the mediaeval ages. I wanted to progress with craftmanship and each piece in the collection has extensive amount of handwork in them. Be that a completely hand sewn kimono top with intricately woven precious ribbons with 96 working hours or a laminated silk velvet top with hand sewn bias tape on each and every seam inside. The hand sewn kimono was cut from a pre-knitted silver viscose and each and every thread was fastened and sewn together by hand. After the shape was intact the ribbons were weaved in and sewn one by one, which turned out to be challenging as we were dealing with a vast amount of different types of ribbons; silk velvets, antique french metals, metallic sequins and so on, which naturally fall and move extremely different. We worked on this piece 12 hours a day for an entire week, but we are very happy with the result, so by all means it was worth it.
The collection comes with a range of metallic leather accessories. Handmade laminated leather collars, closed with a long black velvet ribbon at back, serve both as a necklace and a collar and raw-cut ipad clutches in laminated metallic leather with black velvet ribbon closing.
For the shoes I continued to work with Underground Shoes, which also collaborated with me on the Biennale Interieur uniforms, and I have designed my own special edition triple platform silver wulfrun creepers with black patent ankle strap. I absolutely love underground and I was very happy they wanted to work with me on this project. I met with Alan [the founder] in Antwerp to discuss our collaboration for the biennale and we decided to also make a special edition shoe for my SS13 collection. As I love platforms I wanted to work with the triple-sole wulfrun, same model as we chose for the Biennale, but I stripped off all the laces and put the apron [the 'tongue' of the shoe] on the outside with a black patent leather strap on the side. Again, the contrast of masculine and feminine is important for me, so a black patent ankle strap was added to give a feminine look to the massive shoe, like wearing an anklet [ankle bracelet].