隐藏在“服装设计”中的浪漫故事系列9,含创作过程|CSM-HARRY EVANS

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FROM KIRCHHOFF TO GALLIANO: CSM FASHION GRADUATE HARRY EVANS ROMANTICALLY REVIVES OL’ ENGLAND’S KNITWEAR

    


HARRY EVANS GLORIOUSLY REVIVED OL’ ENGLAND’S KNITWEAR, AND HAS DONE SO WITH A STORM OF REFERENCES FROM ELIZABETHAN IMAGERY TO CAMP MUGLER GLAMOUR. WE CAN VERY WELL IMAGINE THE COLLECTION WORN BY TILDA SWINTON, SOMEWHERE HALF-WAY THROUGH THE MOVIE ORLANDO, DONNING A POWDERY WIG. WE TALK WITH HARRY ABOUT KNIT MACHINES FROM HELL, ‘FUCK! THIS IS ALL WRONG’ MOMENTS AND DESIGN PHILOSOPHIES OF ‘MORE MORE MORE’.

 

Where do you go out?
East usually. But I’ve really gone off it. It’s changed so much from when I used to go out there in first year [of Central Saint Martins] and on Foundation. Load of angry straight people. During the collection time, going out was just not an option (at all), so I’ve been making up for lost time and going out a lot.

 

Do you think that being extrovert is part of the most successful route to success? 

Absolutely not. I think, more often than not, that the opposite is true. I think in fashion, if you can get along well with people – if you’re chatty, outgoing and a good natural networker – that you’ve definitely got an advantage, but that isn’t to say that it’s the only way or the ‘best’ way to be. My collection ended up being very over the top, loud, flamboyant etc.; quite extrovert, but I would never describe myself that way. I think it’s important to find a way of working that’s personal, where you can just be yourself (as cliche as it is!).

 

“I’VE ALWAYS ADORED GALLIANO’S WORK, ESPECIALLY THE WAY WITH HAUTE COUTURE FOR DIOR: HE MANAGED TO CREATE THE MOST OUTRAGEOUSLY BEAUTIFUL, RIDICULOUS DESIGNS WITH THE HIGHEST FORM OF CRAFTSMANSHIP.”




Tell me more about your experiences at Meadham Kirchhoff
Where to start?! It was absolutely amazing. I learnt so much from Ben and Ed personally, and from the whole experience. When I started, I was hopeless. I had absolutely no clue how a studio was run, how to put together a collection, how to make the clothes, cut them out, sew them, fabrics; anything. So I learnt a huge amount over the year. When I started, we spent ages cutting out hundreds and hundreds of bits of fur for the monster jackets from AW ’12; then I stayed and helped out with SS ’13 which was really fun. Their whole world is such a great environment, it’s like a real family.

 

Does their perfume, Tralala, drive you insane if you smell it now, because of over-exposure?
Oh god, the perfume… Well, I wasn’t there for the last season, but when they were testing it, Ed would be spraying it everywhere, constantly, and I used to hate it! I never really wore perfume at the time and I’d be trying to work and start getting a really bad headache. But when I went to see 
the show last season it suddenly just made sense, and I didn’t mind it anymore. I actually really like it now. I think they wanted to create something that was so nice and pretty, that it was completely overwhelming. It was so amazing, the way it completely filled the whole of the Turbine Hall at the Tate Modern, you could smell it everywhere, even outside. I thought it was really magical.

 

“I SPENT ABOUT 80% OF THE TIME SAYING “WHAT THE FUCK AM I DOING??? THIS IS NEVER GOING TO WORK!”



What were your designs like before the final year?
Terrible! Absolutely fucking awful. I just had no clue about anything, really. I’ve only just tidied my work room since I finished my collection and ended up going through loads of old work. Everything was very square and blocky and stiff, very childish and girly but quite ugly. All my illustrations have these weird, gender-less kind of square mannequin heads too. The square heads were my trademark in first year (haha).



Your green look is very similar to John Galliano’s collection – what part did he play in your ‘fashion upbringing’?
For some reason I didn’t even see it until 
Alexander Fury instagrammed it. I was more worried that people were going to say it just looked like Meadham Kirchhoff (because everyone always used to – not that it’s a bad thing), so I didn’t really think to expect people to say it looked like Galliano. It won’t be a surprise that, like so many CSM students, Galliano has always been a huge inspiration; definitely a major figure in my ‘fashion upbringing’! I’ve always adored his work, especially the way with haute couture for Dior: he managed to create the most outrageously beautiful, ridiculous designs with the highest form of craftsmanship.


Most of the graduates we speak to have a ‘Fuck! This is all wrong’ moment. Can you tell us about yours?
I had one every fucking day!!! It was horrendous. I spent about 80% of the time saying “What the fuck am I doing??? This is never going to work!”. I had difficulty finding a similar fabric to make toiles for the very chunky chenille yarn (which I used for about half the collection) so I ended up using this awful grey fleece which wasn’t quite right. So, when I made the fourth look (the green one) the whole thing stretched out and sagged down, it looked horrendous. There were loads more but I think I’ve tried to block them out…



How did you start the collection?
I had a mix of all these historical images (medieval to Elizabethan) and then really camp glamour; lots of LacroixVersace and Mugler and loads of pictures of Siouxsie Sioux when she was about 19. I wanted to have these historical elements, but mix them with younger, more modern, unexpected things. A lot of the looks were different on the back, like the first look has a skirt, but the back is just a pair of pants and they all had unexpected bits of skin showing, lots of thigh and a bit of sideboob.

At the start I was completely obsessed with Siouxsie Sioux, and I’d been listening to Join Hands on repeat for weeks. ‘Icon’ really inspired what I was doing at the beginning of the year and I ended up writing ‘ICONS’ in little scrolls everywhere. I didn’t really name my collection, because I’m kind of shit at coming up with names for things, but I have a quote from the Peter Greenaway film A Zed & Two Noughts on the front of my sketchbook that says ‘In the land of the legless, the one-legged woman is queen’. The film was a huge inspiration to my collection, but I only noticed it after I’d designed it all. I thought it was kind of funny that the quote fit, as I sort of had these duchesses and queens with legs awkwardly poking out of the front of skirts.

 

Did people around you often reference ‘Tudor’ or ‘Games of Thrones’?
I had a black-list of words or phrases I really didn’t want to hear, and Game of Thrones was at Number 1. For some weird reason, when people can’t pinpoint which era something comes from, they always seem to just resort to calling it Victorian, which the collection definitely wasn’t.

 

“THE MOST ANNOYING PART OF THE KNITWEAR COURSE? WILL I GET IN TROUBLE IF I SAY KNITTING?”


Where do you shop?
Online! I hate shops and shopping. I always feel like the layouts and the lighting are all there to trick you into buying things. I go to 
Dover Street Market and Harvey Nichols every now and then, just to grope everything. I love being able to see things from the runway up close. I’ve got a lot of bits of fabric/yarns and designs that I want to make for myself, but we’ll see if I ever get round to it…

 

What was the most annoying part of the knitwear course?
Will I get in trouble if I say knitting? Learning to use the knitting machines is a very slow and, often, punishing process. The industrial machines we have can be a nightmare. If you make a tiny mistake, like forget to flick a switch or move a needle, the whole thing will just fall off the machine, or get tangled as fuck and you have to start again. There’s a lot of that. I think you have to be a particular kind of person to do knitwear. For the first bit of the course, I honestly didn’t want to be there. I wanted to do womenswear but didn’t think I’d get in. But over my placement year and this year, becoming confident with the technical side has really brought it all together for me. At this point, I’m so glad I did knitwear. Every year the graduates’ work is so strong, and our pathway leader Sarah was amazing. She really pushed us all year long, I don’t think we’d have been able to do it without her.

 

 “EVERY TUTORIAL, SARAH AND LOUIS WOULD SAY ‘YOU’VE GOT TO DO MORE! ADD MORE! IT’S GOT TO BE MORE MORE MORE!’ LOUIS HAD ME REPEATING IT AFTER HIM.”



What was your tutor’s feedback during the year?
Really good, on the whole, which continually surprised me. Every tutorial, Sarah and Louis would say ‘You’ve got to do more! Add more! It’s got to be more more more!’ Louis had me repeating it after him. I’m glad I listened. There were a lot of things they said that I didn’t agree with at the time, but went along with anyway, and I’m so glad now that I did. One of the main challenges (I found) of final year is knowing when to change things and when to stick to your guns. At the end of it all, I’m glad I made it all more more more.

What is your plan now?
I’ve got a place on the MA Knit course, so once I figure out how it’s getting paid for, I’ll hopefully be doing that. Afterwards? Who knows…


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