Stella Jean - SS14: A Trompe-L'oeil Cultural Exploration Look Book

Stella Jean's collection is a dream come true. With the use of African fabrics on the rise within the fashion industry, it is always refreshing to encounter a designer whose designs aren't just limited and emprisoned to the traditional and typical fabric codes of usage.


In this collection, the Haitian-Italian designer takes us on a journey - six decades back to a European, picturesque vintage way of living. This experience is thrilling in the 21st century as unlike what life may have been for West Africans (part of the continent where Ms Jean sources many of her bold prints) back then, different cultures have the luxury to mix, echoing a unanimous chant of elevated chaos this time around.


About The Collection

Stella Jean presents for Spring Summer 2014 collection Characterized by trompe-l'oeil cultural exploration. These evocative creations have been produced through a continued cooperation with UN agency the International Trade Center (ITC), which has facilitated the introduction of handloom fabrics made by women living in villages in Burkina Faso.


Seemingly disparate elements create contrasts, blended and mitigated by tailored lines of unequivocal European origin. The collection is inspired by the evocative black and white images of aristocrats vacationing in the 60s: That dream trips started on a Aquariva departing from the Cote d 'Azur, enjoying the fascinating and indolent Italian coast, to go riding a Lambretta with insouciance.

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The creations of the collection draws a map that goes beyond the geographical, delving into the philosophical and sentimental: each garment is not only asking to be Looked at and admired, but also for its styling to be seen as a deeper meaning, beyond simply aesthetic. This is a collection that becomes an impromptu travel diary, in which the stories follow each other to meet in a fresh narrative, deeply rooted and conscious of its Past. The observer's gaze then awakens a wealth of memories shared in a cultural kaleidoscope, by placing each garment in the contemporary urban fabric.




Fundamental to the understanding of the collection is the proper use of the word "ethnic", which here is liberated from Western abuse and manipulations, to be returned to its authentic and blackberries to egalitarian roots. The trompe-l'oeil surprises the viewer with every new look, creating a play of appearances and references. The horizontal lines of the striped canvas fabrics used for outerwear and skirts in retro cuts, albeit recalling by association British college striped blazers, are actually the standard-bearer of the culture of Burkina Faso in West African and were "land of upright men." Territorial boundaries are then split from mental boundaries, less visible but far blackberries tenacious and selective. 



Among the ethnic groups that inspired these creations, the first is an emphasis on traditional Italian craftsmanship of unique garments in silk, Which combine academic traditions of painting on fabric and hand embroidery. The wax is the stylistic fabric of Africa, a continent with a picturesque grand history. West African tradition and craftsmanship are living expressions of slow fashion, distant from the fast-paced fashion industry but able to passe-par-tout. Jewellery inspired by the '50s helps to emphasise the refined and somewhat playful style of the collection.


Typically masculine elements are complimented by classic garments from the woman's wardrobe, creating a new rhythm with unprecedented elegance: cleavage alternates with loafers, wax and gros-grain materials contrast, hair is gathered under strictly masculine hats or turbans wrapped in wax or broderie Anglaise, elegant and rigorous Cuban Guayabera shirts for men demonstrate a new femininity.