Lots of designers are working with print these days–but few are doing it with the wit and charm that Holly Fulton is.
The London-based designer, who worked at Lanvin for two years before starting her own label in 2009, has already made quite the splash in the UK: She was named Scottish Young Designer in 2009 and 2010, and won the Emerging Talent Accessories at British fashion awards 2010. And if you haven’t heard of her yet–well, trust us you will soon.
We caught up with Fulton yesterday at the London Show Rooms press preview (for the past few years the British Fashion Council has been bringing London’s creme de la creme across the pond so editors can check them out) and got an up-close-and-personal look at her fall 2013 collection. While her graphic prints certainly made an impression on the runway, they get even cooler the closer you look: A graphic black, white and red print reveals itself to be a series of stacked lipsticks; a mottled shirt and pants turns out to be made of feathers. There’s no shortage of things to look at–even Fulton, who was wearing a blouse printed with naked ladies from her spring 2013 collection, was fair game (I snapped a few pics of her ensemble).
Read on to see what Fulton had to say about the three collaborations she has in the works, what it was like to work with Alber Elbaz, and her goals for the future of her brand.
What were you inspired by for your fall 2013 collection?
The whole collection is based on the idea of girl bands, groupies and fan zines, how you’d show that obsessive love you’d have your band. We translated that into jacket badges that you did when you were a teenager. Using that sort of scrapbooking…the idea of collaging up different imagery. There’s some punk references in there as well, mixed within sort of romantic imagery like hearts, and then there’s sort of dark, more sinister things in there too.
In terms of fabrication we worked a lot with feathers, using them as a new surface, embroidered, sequined. We worked with a lot of leathers and ponyskins. Trying to keep it as multimedia as possible I guess. Because surface and texture is sort of what excites me. I love print and pattern but anyway to make that more three-dimensional [is what I'm interested in].
Tell us a little bit about your background.
I used to work for Lanvin. I studied in London at the Royal College of Art. And I started my own label in 2009. I showed initially with Fashion East and then I was part of New Gen. Now I’m part of Fashion Forward, British Fashion Council. So autumn/winter was my first season with Fashion Forward.
How did it help you to work at another label before starting your own?
It helps you re-consolidate your own aesthetic. You learn a lot about putting together a range, the elements that go into it. My thought is very much to work on clothing and accessories together. And so we do a full range of bags and jewelry that ties into the prints and materials that are really cool in the collection. That was something that they [Lanvin] really encouraged me to do while I was there. So [my experience there] was really valuable, really grounding I guess.
What was it like working with Alber Elbaz?
It was good. He really believed that my approach was slightly different, in that I was I supposed to be looking at the complete package [whereas] maybe most people are focused on one area. He really encouraged me to think about the way I worked and notice it. I had never considered my way of working being different to anyone else’s until he sort of pushed it and highlighted it for me. I think he’s very good at seeing the potential in people.
Accessories have emerged as a key category for successful luxury brands. Do you think more young designers will be starting accessories lines, like you already have?
I think so. I think designers are really diversifying into a lot of different media. I love working on things outside of fashion as well so the idea of doing interiors or like a lifestyle sort of brand…
Do you want to become a lifestyle brand?
In an ideal world yeah, we’ll get there eventually.
I could see some of these patterns going on a couch or chair. I would buy a lipstick-printed couch!
[laughs] Yeah, [the collection is] quite pattern-based [so] it can translate to quite a lot of different things. It’s a challenge to me as a designer to work in different mediums and that’s what I really enjoy
So what’s next for the label?
We’re moving studio. That’s the most imminent one. And we have several collaborations coming out at the end of this year.
Can you give us any details?
One is bag related. And then the two, three others are in totally different mediums.
Can we get a hint?
I’ll say, it’s not something you can wear. It’s not fashion-based.