Faustine Steinmetz: A Master of Time Amidst AW16
By: Briony Sturgis
It’s a celebration of modernity whilst simultaneously indulging in nostalgia. It’s art and creativity. A scream of innovation and of human expression paradoxically amplified through the parade of those silenced, London Fashion Week is a controversy that every year both bewitches and baffles. Arguably encapsulating one of the most literal conjoining’s of mind and body within society, a twisted hierarchy proclaims the minds of a few via the bodies of many. However, whilst some designers seem to take for granted the world where rubix cubes of clashing patterns are solved harmoniously by such masterminds as Burberry and Tommy Zhong, others illustrate tributes to the ancestry and the power of evolution. In a unique and avant-garde approach, clothes have been utilized as tools to illustrate the mutualistic relationship of the mind and the body in illustrating the brilliance of each other. Suddenly craftsmanship is emphasized over trend, as a trend. Enter Faustine Steinmetz.
Nominated for the Emerging Womenswear Designer Award at the 2015 British Fashion Awards, Parisian born Steinmetz began her studies at Atelier Chardon Savard in Paris before completing her Masters at Central Saint Martins. After studying under Louise Wilson, Faustine’s emphasis on the past propelled her to the forefront of the fashion industry, presenting the birth of her label in 2013. The focus of her work is craftsmanship, her fabrics all being hand-woven using traditional techniques. A musician of the fashion world, such compositions involving the melodies of countermarch floor looms - powered around the independent raising or lowering of separate shafts by different pedals – have arguably projected poignant countermelodies amidst the harmonious orchestra of AW16.
Whilst highlighting an ideology rooted in the past, Steinmetz’s approach was in many ways just as anthropological, involving the models posing behind windowed slots as if part of kind of archival display. In tandem to this was an affirmation of machine-like modernity, with avatar-esque models providing denim with a futuristic overhaul paired alongside died indigo skin. Her label was thus affirmed as one functioning to assimilate the past with the present, a deconstruction of time debatably distilling the human mind from the body. This innovative salutation towards the functionality of fabric illustrates the importance of embracing past ideologies in order to move forward successfully into the future. This is a concept vitally relevant not only to fashion but also day-to-day living.
It is easy to become entranced with the vibrancy that is the collage of London Fashion Week, however, new arrivals such as Steinmetz illustrate the importance of examining the intent behind the vast array of fabric and stitching. The collective human mind is something that has the durability to long outlive the body, and by embracing the thought processes that have allowed us to flourish up until now throughout history, Faustine may have unlocked the key to gaining immortality for the human race long into the future.