For Caecilie Dyrup, fashion is all about storytelling. Her desire to create clothing with a purpose resulted in a graduate collection full of heart, aptly titled ‘LOVE’. Meg Doyle goes behind the scenes and explores the creative process with the young Danish designer.
During the creative process leading up to her collection, Caecilie – a recent masters graduate from Kolding School of Design in Denmark – developed prints and textiles by experimenting with collage and illustration, with striking results.
We take a look behind the clothes at her creative journey – from scribbles and cut outs to the collection that sees the 26 year old recognised as one of Denmark’s young designers on the rise.
“Illustration to me is my heart. It’s what I love doing and it’s how I visualise my dreams and the (occasionally) big mess in my head.” Over the phone from her apartment in Copenhagen, Caecilie speaks fervently, trying to find the best words to explain her compulsion to sketch. “It’s such a great way to literally make your hands speak with your mind, without having to think about limitations or reality.”
We’re discussing her recent graduate collection LOVE from the very start of the process-something which many creatives find hard to articulate. But Caecilie has a way with words and is brimming with opinions about the art, design and industry she’s finding her place in.
What makes her a unique designer is the very literal representation of her collages and illustrations in the final garments of LOVE. “I like what happens when 2D objects become 3D the moment they are put on a body,” she explains. “It creates something unexpected you could never have thought of.” What resulted is a collection of intriguing silhouettes, intricate prints, bold splashes of colour and an unabashed exploration of a concept that is as personal as it is universal.
Often designers start worrying about the practicalities of garment construction during their creative exploration, which restricts their creativity early on in the process.
In designing LOVE, Caecilie allowed herself the freedom to explore the concept, without being too concerned with how it would eventuate. “I really enjoy the beginning when I can let my mind flow free and go crazy with ideas,” she says. “Then when I actually have to turn the abstract idea into a physical garment, I work from paper to body and then the style emerges from there.”
“GARMENT MAKING REALLY IS ALL ABOUT EXPERIMENTING YOUR WAY INTO A CREATIVE FUNCTION. THAT’S WHAT MAKES IT REALLY INTERESTING TO DO”
LOVE is simply putting back into the world something that she thinks has been missing lately. “The inspiration for the collection came from my own frustration and anger towards the world and the people in it,” she says. “I never wanted to be political, but certain things in the world started to make me feel so sad that I had to somehow express these emotions. And it all turned into clothing!”
Having illustrated since childhood, Caecilie is well versed in experimenting with colour, shape and form. “Illustration lets you play with proportions, expression and boundaries,” she explains. “Collage creates these unexpected shapes that you couldn’t imagine coming out of an illustration. The combination of these tools let me to be controlled, but also spontaneous and free in my stories.”
Armed with her book of sketches and collages of LOVE, she headed to Paris to source textiles, keeping her concept at the front of her mind while trawling through the city’s fabric stores. “I have always had a weakness for high quality materials and I have always been terrible at compromising!” she laughs. “Picking textiles is one of the fun things you do as a designer. It’s where you have to limit yourself, narrowing down and naturally sorting out ideas- which also makes room for new and better ideas!”
Specific print and embroidery methods that she wanted to use on particular garments in LOVE also influenced the materials she could buy. “Since LOVE is filled with prints I wanted to use pure materials – wool, silk and cotton,” she says. “Working with these fabrics meant that I had to apply print techniques which are only meant for these kinds of fibres.”
“CREATIVITY CAN’T BE STRUCTURED TOO MUCH. IF YOU TRY, YOU OFTEN KILL THAT DYNAMIC FEELING THAT UNEXPECTED THOUGHTS BRING TO A FINAL IDEA”
“QUALITY MATERIALS AND BEAUTIFUL SHAPES SHOULD COMPLIMENT EACH OTHER, EITHER IN CONTRASTS, CONTEXT OR THE UNEXPECTED. IT NEEDS TO BE EXCITING”
Returning to Denmark with a suitcase bursting at the seams, the next phase of producing LOVE could begin. Her use of digital applications to produce embroidery and prints, as well as screen printing and beading pieces by hand, lead to a final result that is technically precise while maintaining a raw, handcrafted honesty.
“I put a lot of very personal emotions and experiences into my work and try to tell my story through tactility, print, colours and embroidery,” Caecilie says.
Her unique perspective on the creative process, commitment to her concept and unabashed reverence for high quality textiles and techniques make Caecilie a designer with purpose and integrity.
From the scribbled sketches and layers of collage, to the hours spent hand beading and playing with colour, ‘LOVE’ not only describes what the collection puts back into the world, but what she poured into every element of it.“Clothing needs to communication and talk to the people who are touching, smelling and looking at it,” she says. “In the end, fashion is about people.”
“IF YOU CAN MAKE A GARMENT BEAUTIFUL IN MORE WAYS THAN JUST HOW IT LOOKS, THEN TO ME YOU HAVE SUCCEEDED.”
Images by Caecilie Dyrup and Meg Doyle.
About Meg Doyle
Meg Doyle is an Australian born, London based fashion writer. Having recently graduated from London College of Fashion, she’s now finding her feet in the city’s fast paced industry. Passionate about supporting young designers, Meg has covered Graduate Fashion Week and uses her own blog Titian Thread to spotlight emerging creatives. Beyond fashion, hobbies include self-inflicted sleep deprivation and desperately attempting to avoiding Aussie-in-London stereotypes, failing miserably due to her love of avocado on toast.