Kat and Richard sat down with Kate Sylvester this week to discuss her new Spring/Summer 2012/2013 collection, 'All My Heart.'
Jane Eyre is obviously a very important inspiration for this collection. Could you tell us how the Jane Eyre inspiration came to you?
Well, Jane Eyre is one of my favourite books and I have read it over and over. I recently watched the new BBC version of the story, starring Mia Wasikowska and completely loved it. There is this pivotal moment in the book – and, of course, in the film – when Jane discovers that Rochester has a mad wife in the attic; Rochester asks Jane to come away with him to the South of France and live as husband and wife. Jane refuses and ends up destitute, living in the moors. I thought, ‘if only she had gone off to the South of France!’ So this collection is Jane Eyre’s wardrobe, swanning around in France.
Can you tell us about the woman who will wear these clothes?
I see myself as a Kate Sylvester customer – I design very much for myself and for women like me; my friends and customers that I have got to know very well over the years. Even though I do very conceptual collections (there is always a big story behind the clothes) they are always clothes for living in.
The detachable leather collars in this collection are incredible. Could you give us some tips on how best to wear them?
Wear them with everything! We have done contrast collars on shirts across a number of seasons now and they have been incredibly popular. Some have been embroidered, others have had stud detailing – they reflect my love of shirting. The leather collars this season feature brogue details, which is a recurrent theme throughout the collection. Because they are detachable you can do them with so many pieces.
This collection features a one-piece swimsuit that you have said has a connection to a design from a previous collection. Do you often work across collections or go back into your archives when designing?
Well, it is really important to build on your strengths. One of the exciting things about what we do in fashion design is starting new every six months; but at the same time, boy oh boy, starting with a fresh slate is tough. That’s why it is really important to know that there are those anchors from past collections, things that have worked well, that I know I can build on. And also, for customers, I think that continuity is important. Plus, as I said, I design for myself: I had one of those swimsuits, I loved it, and I needed a new one!
Could you tell us a bit about the beautiful cameo inspired jewellery for this collection?
This season we worked with a New Zealand jewellery label, Mirabelle. We already stock her jewellery in our stores. I spoke with her about the Victorian theme and I knew we had to have something cameo inspired. She made the beautiful earrings and necklaces, including a little booklet. The booklet includes a quote from the novel, ‘All my heart is yours, sir’ which features throughout the collection – on t-shirts and embroidered on the collars of shirts.