Le Tour De Force

Headwear faces a renaissance as accessories come to the forefront for dressing in tumultuous weather conditions.

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As summer has finally closed in, predictably attention has veered towards accessories and adornments as people aim to experiment with their style in the blazing heat. Head gear in particular is said to be experiencing some kind of a comeback whether it be beautifully crafted pieces of millinery or over sized high street headbands of floral bows. Whilst the likes of Stephen Jones and Philip Treacy still ruling the roost of opulent hats and headgear, a new breed of designers is coming to the forefront and one of the lines after their structured crowns is Le Tour de Force. As the founder and designer of Le Tour de Force, Camille Roman divulges on herself, inspiration and everything in between.

On herself

"I’m 25 and a bit of a workaholic but I love what I do and it’s always a choice. I love to have lots of people in the studio because I find the energy and interaction inspiring; I find it easier to concentrate amidst noise and disruption! Having a studio in Dalston really helps remove any possibility of silence and calm with all the sirens so I will definitely stick around here for a while. Especially as suburbia really scares me, I find it really sinister for some reason. My parents and relatives are all from Gibraltar, which is a crazily noisy and energetic place, and I grew up between there and a council estate in Basingstoke so I feel really at home with chaos. Basingstoke was not the most inspiring environment to say the least but I think places that have few cultural distractions help expand the imagination. After graduating I went on to design eveningwear and then onto to accessories for Johnny Loves Rosie, where I was introduced to making accessories it was very hands-on and inspiring. And then after moving to Lulu Guinness to work on bag design, I decided to launch my own line of headpieces and accessories."

Inspiration

Personally, I am most inspired by the visual residue of abstract ideas. I have a lot of abstract dreams which I think influence my work with an element of darkness. I’m not a fan of realism in general, I think it’s very inhibiting as your really won’t ever achieve the impossible if you really believe it is impossible, don’t you think? I’m a big fan of Dada and surrealist movies especially, if I could meet anyone from the grave it would be Salvador Dali. I spend a lot of time with illustrators so I am very influences by graphic line and use of colour. I definitely like my collections to have an element of humour somewhere, as its good to put things in perspective and I think a bit of literal association really helps that along the way. I always try and self-induce comedic flashbacks from the past just before some important meeting or event, I think it opens the mind, especially when you’re normally an analytical person."

The Label

"The label came about as I was filling these books with a lot of ideas that weren’t getting realised, and it got to the point where I had to find an outlet and put them out there, so I created the Label. Tour De Force was chosen as a name because I think it’s really important to strive to create something perfect and therefore quite unattainable. Hopefully the label will continue to challenge itself in its ambitions.  Since launching 9 months ago, Tour De Force had a piece exhibited at the 'An anthology of hats' exhibition curated by Stephen Jones and won the competition for best hat design at Ascot. The pieces have been worn by Paloma Faith and Karen O. I never stopped designing womenswear, as it’s a habitual passion for me. I still design collections every season, but logistically it’s difficult to make the transition to producing womenswear collections from accessories. Since starting the label, the plan has always been to slowly expand to womenswear."

On the fashion scene in London

"I think London is a very exciting place to be at the moment for new designers, as there’s a lot of support available in comparison to a lot of the other fashion capitals in terms of providing platforms. I also think that with bloggers challenging the hierarchy of traditionally formed authority in the industry has created an optimism of similar energy to New York in the 70's when people were presenting things as art for the sake of liberating their authority to do so, and i think that is a really positive thing.  I think there is this same energy now as fashion moves away from regurgitations of seasonal inspiration to create the new futurism, and people are presenting their ideas of what this could become."

On the return of millinery

"I don’t think of it is a revival because in the 50's and 60's it was common to wear a hat on a daily basis as a way of complimenting an outfit, and over time hats became special-occasion or formal to most people. I just think people are becoming interested in wearing accessories as another form of layering an outfit, as well as a way of complimenting one. I think the future is to move more towards components which are not so easily defined as 'accessories' as they interact more with body as apposed to sitting on them."

The new collection is available at letourdeforce.com
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