Theatre de la Mode's Olympian Gods

This London-based unisex label gets inspired by a different side to the Olympics.

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We're not expecting too many Olympics-inspired fashion collections in the run up to the big shebang in 2012 but Christopher Kelly of label Theatre de la Mode did look at the original Olympians to get inspired for his S/S 11 collection.  The principle gods of the Greek pantheon and their stormy relationships with each other played out in TDLM's latest film made in collaboration with director Camilla Robinson. Filmed in amongst the deserted ruins of Crystal Palace, TDLM's silhouettes that form its own unique niche between high-end sportswear and quirky casual wear are played to their strengths. Kelly has also utilised more prints and textures in the Olympian collection that he has previously done which is seen in full effect in his modern revival of the voluminous 'Oxford bag' trousers, a style favoured by Oxford students in the 1920s - 50s. Dazed speaks to Kelly about how the label has evolved aesthetically and what film projects he has up his sleeves.

Dazed Digital: How did you come to work with Camilla Robinson on this film?
Christopher Kelly: Camilla and I met at the SS10 Dazed and Confused 'Fashion in Film' screening. My film for SS10 'Physical Culture' and Camilla's film 'The being you must create'  were both selected to be screened at the BFC. Jon (my business partner) and I were sitting alongside Camilla and her mum and we bonded over a mutual love of each others work. So over a couple of glass's of prosecco we hatched plans to collaborate on our next film. I love Camilla's sensitive yet sharp aesthetic she portrays in her films, it couldn't have been more perfect for my vision of 'Olympian'.

DD: What was the idea behind the film and how did it relate to the themes and inspirations behind the collection itself?
Christopher Kelly: 'Olympian', the collection took inspiration from the Olympic deities, their stature and grandeur.  I love the tortured relationships the gods have with each other and their humans. The gods themselves inspired the drape and colour palette of the range. The film focused on the relationship between the gods and the more capricious behaviour of the mortal world. The tension and mood of the film and the collection drew a perfect synchronicity.

DD: How has Theatre de la Mode progressed through the seasons?
Christopher Kelly: T d l M has settled into a high end sports wear brand and with SS11 I have pushed the print clash and fabrication of the range. I have always had a seasonal print within the range but this season I decided to take it one step further and combine an existing tulip print, in house prints, Jacquards and hand painted finishes. I think the fusion of texture, colour and print has resulted in a more accomplished range. The collection certainly feels much more lush. 'Olympian' is absolutely my proudest to date. I feel the silhouette of the collection as truly reached its full potential with the cut of the range catering for a broader aesthetic. It feels like a full wardrobe of styles that one can wear through out the season.

DD: You've consistently worked with film as a medium bar your first season where you used puppetry - why is it so important to you to communicate your collections with film and how do you see the medium within fashion developing?
Christopher Kelly: Film is such an amazing medium. I can realize any world that I want to create depending on the mood of the season. My love for film has grown over the seasons and I am now branching into other film projects. I am currently producing  and co-directing a short film / music video for the Lone Taxedermist. T d l M will keep exploring the world of film and collaborating with visionary directors like Camilla for as long as we can. Not every season but when the mood fits.

I think fashion is beginning to take film as a medium more seriously over the past few seasons. Film has been present in fashion for a long time but finally it is being recognised for the fantastic medium that it is. I think fashion film will very much carve its own place in the industry and gain recognition. Currently it is given a small window during London fashion week but I hope soon it will have full award ceremony dedicated to it. The Dazed collaboration with Onedotzero was amazing and should be pushed to become seasonal show.

DD: What's next for Theatre de la Mode?
Christopher Kelly: Alongside my current collaboration with the Lone taxidermist. I am hatching plans for AW '11. So far film will be present again but animation is now an area I would like to explore. I am currently excited by the idea of over-sized flightless birds like the grouse trapped in a small cage so it over flows through the bars of its prison. bulbous cascading mossy feathers. Beautiful. It sounds mean but its more an extreme image then a reality.

T d l M :: Spring / Summer 2011 :: Olympian from Theatre de la Mode on Vimeo.


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