The Talented – Steffie Christiaens

The Talented – Steffie Christiaens

Steffie Christiaens is someone who knew her business before setting up a studio in Paris. Prior to her first self-named prêt-à-porter collection, which was brought to the runway in March 2011, she attained her fashion design diplomas at Arnhem Academy in the Netherlands and IFM in Paris. She was chosen finalist in the prestigious Hyères Festival 2009 and she worked as collection assistant at Maison Martin Margiela as well as next to Nicolas Ghesquière at Balenciaga. Merging the probably immeasurable expertise gained while working at two highly renowned fashion houses with her knowledge in architecture, 3-D construction and fabric design, Christiaens is creating space for a new discussion in the land of fashion and art.

The experiments have their point of departure in the forceful elements of nature and science. Femininity is presented in complementary to bold cuts and structures where texture, movement and shape all come together, creating powerful and forward-looking images throughout the three collections that so far has left the studio. The Fall/Winter 2012/13 collection is without a doubt a dynamic woman, but there’s a sensitivity and sophistication to her appearance. There’s the dimension of the projected deficits and asymmetric irregularities, and there’s the dimension of the precious work on the fabrics which adds an overall strength to a single piece as well as to the collection as a whole, both gaining from the inspiration coming from the transforming states of water and structures of ice. Black leather, 3D looking jacquards, hefty felt and zippers are softened up with light silk materials and soft shapes created out of goat hair. A color scale that stretches from black and the darkest of charcoal to the lightest crystalline whites is livened up and made more interesting with two outfits in blood red, light shades of camel and skin and the whole spectrum of icy greys.

Runway semblances can be seen through round necklines, high collars, slightly shortened trousers and heavy coats but it is not what makes the Steffie Christiaens brand worth talking about. It’s the dissimilarities in the sculpted shapes, cut outs and fine points like sliced up tights, resembling a fissure in a glacier or the hand-blown glass objects holding water and carried out as an accolade to the inspiration element. Every garment has the outlines for being a classic piece but thereafter the collection takes its own shape. Slim, nondescript trousers are matched with apron shaped miniskirts, the jackets are embellished with sculptural lines and every cut is emphasizing and shaping the female body. The line between accentuating and distorting is sometimes fine but Christiaens noticeable research and savoir-faire keeps her on the right side.

In 2011, preceding all of her runways, Christiaens released Deliquesce, a short film signifying the aesthetics in motion while slowly unwrapping and revealing a couture creation. The abstract image presented might just have been the start off for the label, but it might just become the core, representing the magnetic beauty story behind a collection.

Lisa Olsson Hjerpe – Images steffiechristiaens.com