The Antwerp Academy has garnered an international reputation for creativity that stretches beyond the boundaries of commercial fashion into a more organic, pure method of expression. Students delve into their inspirations with page upon page of illustration and visual expression before realising their designs, and take this wholistic experience of fashion design with them as they move on. One shining example of new talent from the lauded school is Australian womenswear designer Narelle Dore, who has continued working in the Belgian fashion capital since her graduation in 2008. On Sunday, Narelle hosted an intimate presentation of her Autumn Winter 2010-11 collection as an afternoon tea in the back garden of the RA boutique in Antwerp. Her capsule of twenty handmade pieces was based on a series of pinhole camera photos Narelle made at the salt lakes near her hometown of Perth in Australia.
“The way the film captured the sunlight and harsh environment with an unfocused softness inspired the use of linens, suede, sanded silks and lasercut/burnt leather. I wanted to translate sun rays like amulets, to be incorporated into the cuts and textile effects". Narelle’s ideas were realised in an earthy palette ranging from burnt orange to soft beige, softened with pastels of sky blue and mint green. Techniques such as crochet, macrame and delicate cutouts were integrated into traditional smock-shaped dresses, cropped blouses and panelled skirts, with intricate fabric jewellery and a pair of suede socks to complement the range.
For the afternoon tea, Narelle hung the garments across panels of stained stable wood, for an effect that echoed the ‘homespun’ nature of her concept. Guests were treated to special spiced teas from local organic collective Otark Productions, and a soundtrack from noted local artist and DJ Dennis Tyfus. As a limited edition product, Narelle produced 50 patterns of her 'Sunray Blouse' for guests to purchase, available in five sizes. “RA gave me this amazing back room for today which is such a beautifully sunlit room, allowing me to arrange the space in a very open manner … I also made a cake that was my first successful non-packet cake! The back garden is open and the sun is shining. What more can I ask for?”
Narelle’s collection is sold exclusively at RA in Antwerp for Fall Winter 2010-11