My undergraduate thesis in fashion design culminated in a capsule of six looks, presented on the runway at Élysée Montmartre in Paris.
Please view the corresponding tactile collection here .
The concept of j e l can be best expressed through a quote from
Jean-Paul Sartre's 1938 novel, Nausea :
" I construct my memories with my present. I am lost, abandoned in the present.
I try in vain to rejoin the past: I cannot escape."
j e l examines the inevitable distortion that occurs when my childhood memories are viewed through a filter of nostalgia - nostalgia for a specific period of my youth,
from 1998 through 2003.
This is conveyed through various methods of fabric manipulation applied to sleek, simple silhouettes evocative of the minimalistic styles of the late 1990s and early 2000s and representative of my own design predilections.
Much of my visual inspiration and research was devoted to the recovery of vintage artifacts from my youth - " relics."
The most nostalgically relevant of these included toys, fashion items, and pop culture media, including Disney's
The Lizzie McGuire Movie.
Another significant relic is
Vitamin C's eponymous debut album. A luscious, ingenious confection both aurally and visually, it combines the dichotomous
sounds of candy-like pop and
hard rock dipped in gel.
View the photographic tribute here
Since purchasing the album in 2004, it has continuously influenced my overall
aesthetic and chromatic inclinations and has played a role of gargantuan proportions in shaping my visual language as a designer and artist.
Over time, many emotionally charged items
- and indeed moments -
have been forgotten, and only some have been retrieved after serendipitously being guided back to their family of relics in my memory. Others will remain lost forever.
Following my attempts to recover what I have lost is the phenomenon of distortion that occurs due to an ever-present nostalgic filter: what I recall as a perfect, unadulterated slice of time is merely a warpage of memories
My preliminary experiments with physical distortion included crumpling printed images of iconic faces, thus yielding new ones.
While translating this concept to a women’s ready-to-wear collection, the idea of distortion was conveyed through various methods of fabric manipulation, including draping and random smocking on fabrics printed with iconic images, blurred prints on crisp cotton satins or sharp prints on soft velvets, the use of trompe l'œil to represent the illusion that are our recollections, and sheer overlays to signify the fallibility of memory
In addition to being an immense effort to reconnect myself with the past, the ultimate question that j e l addresses is the following: since it is not, in fact, a specific moment that I wish to revisit but rather a state of mind - my desire for which combined with nostalgic ideation has rendered my memories as a false image of idyllic beauty - one must wonder,
"If I could attain this state in the present, would I still wish to return to the past . . .?"
j e l :: the playlist
The following songs were selected not merely for their temporal relevance to the era addressed in the concept of j e l but for their nostalgic value and the direct portal that they unfailingly provide to the past despite the inexorable passage of time.