For spring/summer 2019, Edeline Lee staged an immersive presentation at the BFC Show Space investigating the feminine state through design and performance with a contemporary dance spectacular juxtaposing the “woman’s vulnerable, internal persona versus her worldly, exterior facade”.
“As a designer, I view myself to be in service to women, helping them to be well within their selves and giving them tools to construct and express their identities to the outside world,” explains Edeline Lee. “I think that all women can relate to the feeling of searching for and assuming diverse identities for different moments in their lives. Similarly, the fashion system has parallels to a woman’s journey - fashion is a playground for experimentation with performance and identity.”
The dance performance showcased Lee’s SS19 collection in various scenes from classic fashion moments such as catwalk show, red carpet arrival and afterparty, as well as dream sequences featuring choreography playing homage to the work of Pina Bausch and Traja Harrell, all to a soundtrack featuring female voices only, alongside minimal white props and retro light effects. It also championed a more body-positive approach to dressing as the models and dancers in the show came in various shapes and sizes and perfectly showcased how flattering Lee’s designs are.
The collection itself, expands on Lee’s experimentation with ruching and ruffles, while maintaining the designer’s tailored, womanly shapes, and saw the label’s signature Flou Bubble Jacquard fabric showcased in scarlet, ivory and bottle green, alongside a crinkle georgette in brown and ivory, and a graphic, hand-painted zigzag print. Highlights included the spaghetti-strap dresses and long-sleeve A-line dresses, as well as the feminine skirts and separates that were accented with hand-covered, multicoloured dome buttons and buckles.
Five Minutes With…Edeline Lee
Ahead of her presentation, FashionUnited spoke to the designer about the inspiration behind the collection, her target customer, as well as what to expect from the label in the next year.
What’s the inspiration behind your spring/summer 2019 collection?
Edeline Lee: “I am really excited about SS19, I started with the idea of the self that we as women present to the outside world versus the interior, hidden self. I've been very inspired by the process of preparing for the showing of the collection itself - we are creating a performance - it's very experimental, I hope that people will enjoy it.”
What’s so special about showing at London Fashion Week?
“London is where I live, where I studied at Central Saint Martins and where I basically grew up as a designer. London has always been the most open city for young designers, there is a receptivity and culture of mentorship here that I think is unparalleled. LFW has the benefit of the British Fashion Council, which is an incredibly supportive and nurturing organisation for young designers.”
If not London, then where would you rather be?
“I have a deep love for Italy, perhaps I would try my luck in Milan if I weren't here in London.”
Can you describe who the ‘Edeline Lee’ customer is?
“The Future Lady is an idea that I made up to encompass the woman that I am designing for. I think about women a lot. I think of my girlfriends and my clients, and what the clothes feel like when they are on.
“Female identity is in flux in our generation, our roles are shifting so dramatically in our lifetime. We can’t automatically subscribe to the identities that have been laid out for us as women, all of them are faulty in some way. Women now live hectic, collaged lives, are more beautiful, more powerful, more free, stronger, more aware, more capable than any other time in history. Yet, we still have a ways to go before we fulfil our true potential. How does the Future Lady dress? What is it to dress with true power, grace, beauty and dignity?”
What are the goals for your label in the next 12-months?
“We are growing in every part of the business right now, so there are a lot of growing pains. In 12 months, I would like to see that we have settled into a steady, balanced business, sustainable from the inside out.”
One piece of advice you’d give a student fashion designer starting out?
“There is no time for fear. Get out there, take internships and get as much experience as you can, as early as you can. At its core, this business is a craft. In the long run, a lack of experience and solid foundation always shows.”
If you wasn’t a fashion designer - what would you be?
“I would be a filmmaker, an artist, an interior decorator, an architect, a ceramicist, an art director, or a basket weaver!”
Who are you looking forward to seeing this fashion month?
“I'm really looking forward to seeing my private clients, the women who buy my clothes directly from me. It is always so inspiring to see the clothes on real women who are buying for their real needs. I learn so much from them, and feel that these moments give meaning to what I do.”
British-Canadian designer Lee is a Central Saint Martins graduate who launched her eponymous label in 2013. Lee is supported by the Centre for Fashion Enterprise and recently was named a winner of the British Fashion Council Fashion Trust grant. All of her designs are made by hand in England using fabrics woven in Italy and France.
Images: courtesy of Edeline Lee / SS19 Lookbook imagery by Benjamin Tietge