Spotlight on: Liza Kain
Photographer Arky Fissenko
We sat down with Liza Kain to discuss her inspirations for her latest collection which stem as far back as the Ottoman Empire… You can view exclusive photos of Liza’s latest collection in our next issue of TBM.
1.Your designs almost look like gorgeous flower petals that women are swathed in. What was your inspiration for the layers of fabric? What were you trying to create?
It all started one day when while going through some books I came across an image of Sarah Bernhard in the role of the Byzantine empress Theodora. The image got stuck in my head. On one hand it emanated intense power, but on the other hand there was a sense of vulnerability, timelessness and very pure femininity. From that moment on I knew what I wanted my collection to be.
I further continued researching the topic of women in history/art who were portrayed as creatures able to enchant and enslave anyone who crosses their path. Such as Oscar Wilde’s story of Salome and the dance of 7 veils. After reading an analysis of the play I got intrigued by the way different parts of the world at the end of 19th century were portrayed. Most importantly how the majority of western artists, writers etc. would perceive the Orient as an exotic land where women through dances and tricks can become the embodiment of the later established concept of femme fatale. My own interpretation of the modern woman stems from that concept. Common beliefs that women are weak and frail are refuted, many misconceptions are overturned, the use of the flower as the main symbol of this design has a similar meaning behind it, it no longer is seen as a thing of beauty only, but has a mysterious strength.
Photographer Arky Fissenko
Looking into the Orient, more particularly the Ottoman empire, we can find a new way to think of the flower, thinking unknown to the western world, the tulip had been the image of the strength of the empire, which was a place where women held a unique self-contradictory status of being all powerful and completely powerless. As a result, I created a collection which adopted the flower as a symbol of power and femininity. The tulip was transformed into a garment intertwining the day to day value of clothes with the hidden meaning behind them. In this manner when the garment is worn it reveals a woman that is a walking fairy tale rich in history, ideas and philosophies.
The woman was recreated as a mythical figure hidden behind layers of illusive fabrics which remind the beholder of the complexity of her journey through time. She was molded, consumed, and recreated. Just like the flowers she blooms and then dramatically decays. Her timeless femininity is expressed through increasingly intense textile methods, intrusive embellishments, loose treads and complex constructions. Myths become reality and reality disappears.
Photo: Liza Kain
Photographer Unai Matteo, Embroidery Hirushi Jayathilake, Clutch by Emily Kate Dwyer
2. The colours in your collection are very feminine and pastel, where did you draw your inspirations from here? Which woman comes to mind as your biggest inspiration?
For the first time I decided to experiment with brighter more pastel feminine colours. For me the challenge was to create this sensitive feminine feeling using colours and flower-like shapes which would simultaneously illustrate and emphasize the image of emancipation and strength. By doing that to make Her into the “Übermensch” or hyper women, which in turn would become my biggest inspiration. It is not only one woman but the collective image of all the women that serves as my inspiration.
3. What’s your philosophy when creating fashion?
We should look no further than our own society, in order to find the ground works of creating fashion, as it has “evolved” to be ideal for the moment, as it is the natural progression of beneficial practices and traditions in a culture. In a way [fashion] resembles a loop, as society creates fashion and is then created by fashion. Therefore, my philosophy is that we must use fashion to pave the way for novelties and test them and their statement. The brand philosophy is bold statement, it has now become on par with the aesthetics of the product in terms of value and importance.
Photographer Arky Fissenko, Model Noemi Gunea
Every woman can wear my dresses. –The woman that is in unison with herself, has managed to transcend previously imposed societal norms, can understand what these garments stand for and dress in them.
4. What kind of woman dresses in Liza Kain?
Every woman can wear my dresses. The woman who is in unison with herself, has managed to transcend previously imposed societal norms, can understand what these garments stand for and can dress in them. That is why after graduating the London College of Fashion I am looking to expand my graduate collection by establishing a luxury Womenswear brand, which honours the couture traditions with a modern sensibility appreciating femininity of the contemporary woman, allowing more and more women a greater sense of freedom.
5. You’re so young and so talented. What’s next for you?
No one can say with any certainty what will happen next, although I am striving to create a brand which will have enough influence to create a change not only in society, but in the industry, aiming to reduce wasteful production, by creating more enduring and eco-friendly clothes, while using future brand hallmarks such as creative and innovative approach to pattern cutting and textile creation and the use of technological advancements.
6. Describe yourself in 3 words.
Dedicated. Workaholic. Happy.
7. Describe your collection in 3 words.
Truly a Woman
Liza Kain Womenswear, Textile, Jewellery, Embroidery Hirushi Jayathilake, Clutch by Emily Kate Dwyer
Embroidered Arm Accessories and Belt Aashiya Master, Photographer Arky Fissenko, Model Stephanie Laleva, Make up Asami Pakuchi, Stylist Betty Lauu
Exclusive photos of Liza’s collection will be available in The Bare Minimum Issue 3, coming November 2018.