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Blandine Goes Beyond the Valley

Using multi-coloured plastics and unconventional shapes, Blandine Bardeau makes her debut collection for cult London boutique, Beyond The Valley.

Now based in London, freelance illustrator, fashion and jewellery designer Blandine Bardeau hailing from France, graduated from Central Saint Martins last year in Womenswear. Her first fashion collection based on "the idea of transformation, to create clothes which are not uniform and rigid, but just like us as people, have identities which allow us to become creatures, animals, boys or girls" is an eclectic mix of colours in plastics and plaiting. Her jewellery collection, inventively titled “Fluorescent Monkeys and Other Funky Chickens” is a continuation of these almost child-like creative ideas.

Dazed Digital: Where are you from?
Blandine Bardeau: I am from Toulouse in the South of France, where the sun shines pretty much all the time...

DD: How long have you been designing for?
Blandine Bardeau: That's a good question actually. Proper "designing" was when I started doing the Foundation course in Saint Martins in 2004. I realised that what I had always been doing naturally by myself was called "design" and that it had some sort of rules and that there was a form of process. But I have been designing and drawing since age three or something. Kids design all the time.

DD: What inspired your collection?
Blandine Bardeau: Well it's a natural continuation of my first clothing collection for my degree show titled "Transformations". I made that dress made of plastic tubes and I loved making it and the response was great, so when Beyond the Valley asked me to turn it into a jewellery collection I thought it made complete sense. The collection is called "Fluorescent Monkeys and Other Funky Chickens" and it is a collection of spirits in plastic. I have always loved objects, have always thought of them as having a signification and a personality. My little spirits are jewellery pieces you can wear, and I like the fact that there is a sort of paradox in the fact that they are made out of plastic: modern funky spirits. I like working with what's around me. It's about imagination, travelling in my world and coming back form that world with these pieces that I give to people. They are spirits from my world.

DD: I love the colours in the cords used, do they glow in the dark?
Blandine Bardeau: Unfortunately they don't... My friend and I spent a day trying to make them glow in the dark but they don't! I love colours. It's funny because for a while at school I wasn't using many colours, and in the final year I suddenly became myself again, I rediscovered that little kid who used to love glitter and colours, to mix everything into a big bowl and throw it on the wall. I think I was so scared of Saint Martins for a while and it sort of prevented me from letting go. And then I exploded. Colours are a big thing for me. I wish our houses were more colourful, like in Mexico.

DD: How long does it take to make one of these pieces, typically?
Blandine Bardeau: It's all relative, it really depends. I don't know if its relevant. It takes me a long time... I love doing it, that's what's important. I feel like a kid again. I just realised the other day that today, I do what I used to do when I was 8.

DD: How do you think your collection fits with the Beyond the Valley aesthetics?
Blandine Bardeau: I hadn't really thought of that. Well, I think perhaps it clashes slightly but I always enjoy a bit of a clash...

DD: What do you have planned for the future?
Blandine Bardeau: I have a few projects going on, collaborations. I am going to start my own shop on 'NotJustALabel' soon. One thing leads you to the other, and every day is a different day, in which anything can happen. I like that. It took me a while to realise it, and to be in peace with it though. I really want to start a hand-printed T-shirt collection. Maybe it will happen before Christmas. I also want to exhibit my drawings in galleries. I like the fact that I am making everything myself and I would like to keep that for as long as possible. I am not really into the whole cheap, mass-produced, quantities thing.

Photography Joel Bardeau and Ivano Coltellacci
Model Anouchka,
Make-up Thierry Aprile
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