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Jennifer F M Murray

The young Austrian's menswear collection explores society's concept of religion and links it to themes of the circus

The 24-year-old Austrian London College of Fashion graduate Jennifer F M Murray has based her graduate collection, 'Cirque d'Amen', around the questioning of the Catholic Church and how it feels more to her as a 'circus' than a serious religious institution.

The collection explores the idea of exclusivity, boldness and extreme opulence. Every item sourced lives up to the highest standard. It’s also very important for me to employ various properties of fabrics within the looks to achieve the necessary shapes and depth of each garment

Her concept reads: "If Jesus were the Ringmaster and the Pope resembled the status of a White Face Joe Clown, Cardinals were helpers just like Augustin Clowns, then wouldn’t Bishops, Canons and Priests be supporting acts such as Acrobats, Dwarfs, Horseriders?
Aren’t Believers an audience, don’t routines resemble rituals and aren’t we all just a little entertained?" And that’s what she wants her audience to think about while looking at all of the oversized blazers, and jackets reminiscent of the religious robes of the Pope combined with layering, fur, golden jumpsuits and baroque patterns.

Dazed Digital: Why did you decide to go into fashion?
Jennifer F M Murray: For as long as I can remember I’ve always had a great appreciation and love for clothes. I believe the choice to go into fashion was a natural descision that was formed inevitably over time. So for me when the time came to choose my path it’s what felt right.

DD: What is your graduation collection all about? What are the inspirations/themes behind it?
Jennifer F M Murray: It's titled Cirque d’Amen and really it’s about reconsidering the role of the church in society today. I started drawing parallels between the church and the circus to exaggeratingly highlight my more critical point of view on the subject. It’s about attitude and individualism, the ability to pull something off whilst still being yourself.

DD: What materials do you use? How did you source them?
Jennifer F M Murray: The collection explores the idea of exclusivity, boldness and extreme opulence. Every item sourced lives up to the highest standard. It’s also very important for me to employ various properties of fabrics within the looks to achieve the necessary shapes and depth of each garment. For example the fur is of the highest quality, ethically sourced mink from Kopenhagen Fur.

It was later hand encrusted exclusively with Preciosa Crystals.The tapestry & brocade I used are all authentic 15th/16th century ecclesiastical weaves made in England. All other textiles include British Silks and Italian Suiting were sourced at Premiere Vision In Paris.

DD: Why did you decide to focus on menswear? 
Jennifer F M Murray: For me the menswear market ironically seems a lot more liberating and exciting. I feel with menswear I am freerer to concentrate on the authenticity of the clothes themselves rather than the complex shapes of a woman’s figure. There is so much more to be explored in menswear, and I’m really excited to see myself as a part of it.

DD: What are your plans for the future?
Jennifer F M Murray: I’d love to find my place within a design house, where I can work with a team and contribute to tomorrows menswear market.

Text by Alexandra Bondi de Antoni