The Inspiration behind Autumn/Winter 2015: Blog Two - Opulent Structure

Setting the mood

The first image chosen is always about setting the context and mood of the season as a whole.

It was this picture from the Russian Vogue, the gorgeous model and an ornate headdress are juxtaposed against a tailored white jacket. This picture conveys a sense of opulent structure, which set the tone for our Autumn/Winter 15 contemporary power mood.

The story, Russian Ornaments from Vogue Russia April 2011 features Marta Berzkalna photographed by Mariano Vivanco. It first came to our attention when we were developing the brand and has influenced our signature since. 

At The centre of our Studio wall you will see an image of a model in a Russian headdress. 

At The centre of our Studio wall you will see an image of a model in a Russian headdress. 

Rooted in Fashion History with a Modern Context

The ERRE brand has always had a rootedness in the history of fashion. How royalty has dressed throughout the ages is one of our obsessions as it is the origin of the power dressing idea. The monarchies were all about conveying their status with appearance, predominantly through clothing. We want to dress the modern monarchy – the decision makers – who need the same kind of juxtaposition of opulent structure in their clothing.

It is our design philosophy that disallows contemporary reference of fashion. For us it crosses a line between plagiarism and inspiration that makes us uncomfortable. Invariably, the visuals one consumes during the day – whether it is the clothing you see on people or while watching a film - influence you and filter into your designs.

It is never advisable to look at current fashion, and some designers refuse to look at current fashion trends at all, like Hussein Chalayan. At ERRE, however, we draw the distinction at the date. We want to know what’s out there and where the gaps in the market are, however when it comes to the design stage we want to create something new, while realizing everything new is also based on the past.

Vogue Russia April 2011, Model: Marta Berzkalna photographed by Mariano Vivanco

Vogue Russia April 2011, Model: Marta Berzkalna photographed by Mariano Vivanco

Elaborate Headdresses and Masculine Tailoring

This picture was added as a mood shot. There is an indescribable beauty about it which sets a tone of ERRE’s vision of a powerful women today.  This image places monarchy into the contemporary context. It is what we envision the ERRE women to be – the modern monarchy – the decision makers.

Whether it is the stance of model. Or the juxtapositioning of the male tailoring and the femininity of the headdress. Or possibly the indescribability of Russia itself. It is antagonistic but still beautiful. Defensive and exotic to the West. Much like Africa is. It is about trying to decipher the mysterious “other” in comparison to oneself.

The elaborate headdresses, which make the wearer appear taller and more imposing, is a symbol of power. Although, this headdress, called a “kokoshnik”, is not necessarily a symbol of royalty as women and girls wore it in the 1500’s as part of their traditional dress, from an outsider’s perspective, the rich jewels symbolize the old “other worldly” power of the Russian royalty and Tsar’s.

The  traditional Russian headdress called a “kokoshnik”. 

The  traditional Russian headdress called a “kokoshnik”. 

he other feature of picture is the tailoring of the jacket. With the rise of bankers, attorneys and businessmen that benefitted from the industrial revolution tailoring became the symbol of the successful during the 1800’s for well-to-do men in London. While new technologies led to better pressing and weaving equipment necessary to produce such sharply tailored collars.

Women would later adopt the tailored suit, for example Marlene Dietrich in the 20’s, however only in the 80’s would women adopt the male tailored suit for their everyday wardrobes. Today still, a sharply tailored collar denotes masculinity. It is part of the ERRE brands’ differentiating feature to amalgamate the masculinity of tailoring with more feminine features, as is seen in this picture.

Victorian tailoring: Robert de Montesquiou circa 1897,portrait by Giovanni Boldini 

Victorian tailoring: Robert de Montesquiou circa 1897,portrait by Giovanni Boldini 

The combination of a sense of Imperial Russian power, through the historical headdress, combined with the contemporary, masculine tailoring of the jacket creates a powerful image that captures the spirit of the modern woman we envision wearing our creations. For us the old monarchies give us cues on what power dressing entails, for us it isn’t as obvious as wearing a crown, more often than not it is in the subtlety of clothing.