“Using the malleability of industrial materials such as latex, fiberglass, and resin to great effect, Eva Hesse imbued a subtle eroticism and a sense of human presence in her sculptures.” -Philadelphia Museum of Art
The work of Eva Hesse and Louise Bourgeois - particularly their simplified, “antiform” sculptures - inspired the silhouettes in this collection. Many of them are iterations I’ve experimented with before in previous collections, but in this new material it feels like they’re finally coming into their own. Eva’s sculpture, Tori, with its slit-like casings, evokes such strong feelings with very simple materials and shapes. That slit opening was the inspiration for the neckline of the Eva, and I’m striving for the same challenging, intriguing lines.
Bourgeois's white marble sculptures, Cumul I and Clamart provided the inspiration for the Louise Funnel Neck. The suggestion of movement and pregnant forms reminded me so much of pulling on a snug turtleneck as a child. The elegant shapes in Hesse’s Repetition Nineteen, III, drove me to create the funnel neck as one continuous swath of fabric, without a seam at the neckline. It has nuance and flow, and the body beneath defines the final silhouette of the garment, rather than the panels of fabric clinging to the body in a pre-determined way.
Eva Hesse’s work in particular is recognized as some of the first to move away from the harsh, mechanical minimalism of the mid-twentieth century. Her sculptures focused on process and form, and she suggested simplicity and lack while keeping her work human, tactile and organic.
That is precisely my aim. My cuts are minimal and simple, but not cold. The hand of the maker is celebrated, not erased, and our fabrics are understated but full of texture and life. This collection is no different, and in that vein I’m especially fond of the finishing technique on the hems and necklines of these garments. Organic, bias cut rolled edges trim all of the openings - a finish that honors the nature of the material and gels perfectly with the story behind the garment. This trim doesn't interfere with or contradict the nature of the fabric - it feels more like an extension of the way the material wants to behave naturally. Continuous, organic form; deference to the nature of the medium; evoking emotion with simplified shape - that’s the story of each of these garments. The silhouettes we love in materials that enhance their form, not hinder it.
And ultimately, it’s not just the work of artists that has inspired the shape of these garments - it’s the women themselves and the lives they led. This collection is full of functional, highly wearable and moveable pieces that I see Eva and Louise wearing while they work. A simple, white knit top underneath coveralls, flecked with plaster and resin. A black funnel neck with trousers at an opening. A well-worn tee with jeans, damp from working in the heat of a New York studio.
Look for Parts 2 and 3 soon where we’ll dig into the production process and collaboration with Alabama Chanin along with the functionality of these garments and how we see them pairing with our wovens!