We've all seen models parading fantastical designs on the catwalk, or admired a celebrity wearing a spectacular gown on the red carpet, but have you ever wondered what really goes into the creation of such pieces? From inspiration and design to construction and fittings, there's hours (and hours) of work that goes into the creation of just one luxury garment.
In our new three-episode series, Inside the Atelier, international fashion director and journalist Zadrian Smith meets five of London's most promising young design stars, who have all been nominated for the BFC Foundation Award at this year's Fashion Awards - the winner of which will be announced at the star-studded ceremony at the Royal Albert Hall tonight (29 November). Smith is a member of the British Fashion Council's diversity and inclusion steering committee - something which he has long been an advocate for within the industry - and was involved in the selection process for this year's award nominees.
In this first episode, Smith meets Richard Quinn and Bianca Saunders, who take him inside their respective studios for an up-close look at the way they work.
Renowned for his bold patterned prints, and how he subverts traditional fashion trends, Richard Quinn has made a name for himself as one of the UK's most exciting young talents - with fans including everyone from Jennifer Lopez and Lady Gaga to Kendall Jenner. He famously dressed Amal Clooney for the Met Gala in 2018 and was the first recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design - which meant he had the honour of Her Majesty sitting on his show front row.
"The fun bit is after the show happens, when you think, 'I wonder who will wear that?'" Quinn tells us. "[To see] how someone takes it to a new level and puts it in a different context that we would never even think of."
In the case of dressing Amal for the Met Gala, which was that year inspired by 'fashion and the Catholic imagination', Quinn explains that "it was more of a dialogue with Amal herself. She's such an intelligent woman and she gave us a brief, so we wanted to entwine all those religious elements within the print, and then have it on the foil so it almost looked like stained glass without being too literal. It's nice having the back and forth to make something that's in your style but is also very unique to that person."
Challenging the societal norms of what it means to look and dress like a man, Bianca Saunders is revolutionising British menswear with her unique approach to design, which stems from bridging the gap between masculine and feminine aesthetics. She first launched her brand inspired by the men in her family and her creativity is heavily influenced by the culture around her.
"I think the modern man is more of a polymath," she tells Smith. "So even if the person is involved in finance, he's going to an art show on the weekend or has an extensive music collection. It's very much broadened."
She continues: "I think in fashion we tend to think about the more stylistic people, but the consumer that's buying the clothes is everybody else - I really want to make people like that feel comfortable within themselves and feel as though they can be a mixture of people... Owning a garment and making it feel like it's a part of you is important to me."
Watch the full episode of Inside the Atelier with Richard Quinn and Bianca Saunders, above, and check back soon for our next episodes with Bethany Williams, Nensi Dojaka and Priya Ahluwalia.
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