As the AW14 collection hits stores, we interviewed the head of design for Stills - Korrie Vulkers to find out what inspires her work.
CC: Who is the Stills woman?
KV: She is a mature woman. She has a certain confidence and elegance. She has made her choices in life, knows where she wants to be, but in an unassuming way. Her way of dress is sophisticated but comfortable, contemporary but feminine.
CC: Your work strikes an interesting balance between functionality and elegance, androgyny and femininity. How do you go about achieving this?
KV: I am always looking for contrast in the collection. Contrasts in material, in shape, and in silhouette. For instance, a sharp blazer with a soft silk blouse gets more interesting when it is worn with comfortable jogging trousers. The fluffy surface of a chunky knitted sweater comes to life on a leather fitted pencil skirt; it’s in the contrasts in shape and in material.
CC: How do you tackle innovation in materiality and construction?
KV: Every season, we start with experiments in our in-house atelier. Making toiles of new shapes and constructions, new sleeves and shoulder-shapes, different volumes and proportions. At the same time we test new materials. We even try to invent our own material. For example, we might combine many layers of unfinished, torn silk to create a new material with a soft, hairy surface.
CC: In your opinion, what is it about the work of renowned photographer Annemarieke van Drimmelen that makes her the right choice for the Stills campaigns?
KV: It’s in her gift for intimacy and light. Annemarieke portrays women in a way that’s very vulnerable and at the same time strong. The light is often natural, which creates dynamic composition in her pictures. She works with the softness and the strength of a woman, the sensuality and the power.
CC: Your work is very architectural, from the way it is constructed, to its silhouettes, to your choice of fabrics and to the tones that you favour. Has this always been the case?
KV: Mostly I let the material dictate the shape; and consequently I do have a personal preference for strong fabrics. I like to work with construction often seen in traditional menswear; my favourite items in a collection are often the coats. Coats allow bigger shapes, strong silhouettes and real construction.
CC: Has the style of any particular architect or architectural era ever influenced your own personal aesthetic?
KV: Though he’s not really an architect, Anish Kapoor is one of my favourite artists. I like how he works with proportions, how he uses his materials and colour. His work is surprising, fascinating and astonishing. You have to take time to live through it and really experience his work. It is an adventure.
CC: The Stills stores were designed by architects Doepel Stijkers, to whom you were said to have given a carte blanche. The architects said of the design, ‘We based our concept on the clothing collection. Pivotal to Stills fashions is a feel for the structure of the material and for good workmanship, and that’s what we translated into the space.’ Did you anticipate that your designs would influence their concept so heavily?
KV: Not really, but they did a great job in translating the structure of a textile material in their design. The linear effect of yarns in a handloom is shown in the grid that is used the shop interiors.
KV: This Fall 2014 Stills collection is about new textures, fluffy and soft surfaces, abstract patterns and creative translations of textile art. Sheila Hicks and Anni Albers, both artists working with tapestry, inspired us for Fall 14. There is special attention for the knitwear this season, with lots of textures and contrasting materials.
See our exclusive shoot featuring the AW14 collection here.