A Woodland Temple
Detail of Renaissance tapestry
Last winter, while we were shooting the collection at Bournazel Renaissance Castle in Aveyron, one of the big tapestry hanged in the ballroom, held my attention and inspired the story and color palette of Autumn-Winter 2020-21 collection.
During Renaissance, artists left divine symbolism to imitate the magnificence of Nature, seeking for beauty on earth. They took over the ideal proportions of ancient models and the landscape with remote perspectives became a real theme. Bournazel’s tapestry is showing a nymph escaping from a faun.The scene is taking place in mythic Nature, both threatening and comforting, a dualist vision in which the wild place where the dismissed faun is running away, reflects all despicable instincts of sensual world as opposed to the tamed and organized nature of the charming clearing where the nymph is living.
We took over a detail of these dense ash and oak foliage from this tapestry motif and adapted it to knitwear.
Foliage theme is reproducing the complementary colors resulting from the light playing through the leaves and dense foliage.
Mathilde, our model for this collection, made me think of Daphne. Her paleness and russet gave her something Venetian and reminded me of old paintings of Daphne. Daphne, this beautiful nymph from Greek mythology who was pursued by Apollo's love and then changed into a bay tree by her mother Gaïa or her father Pénée, according to the different versions, in order to escape from him. She was then popularized through Antiquity by Ovid. Daphne’s myth appeared again in Renaissance arts and never ceased to be depicted.
Sketch by Leonard de Vinci, the great Renaissance master
Model wearing Foliage outfit during shooting
Thereafter the oak leaf imposed itself as the main motif. It is a common essence in our region as well as a sacred tree in many cultures all over the world and a symbol of moral and physical strength. The oak tree was used as an intercessor between earth and heaven.
Its name is obviously linked to Celtic and Gallic druids whose name would even mean "the one who knows the Tree". In Greek mythology, it is Zeus tree and the Dryads and Hamadryads are the nymphs dedicated to protecting it. In Roman tradition, we can find crowns made with braided oak leaves, which were given as a reward to the best poets. Later on, brave soldiers will be given this civic crown for having saved a comrade’s life on the battlefield.
That’s how the little lobed leaf crossed the centuries to be used as a symbol of authority, even nowadays in Western countries. Because of this powerful symbol, it can be naturally found in all kinds of artistic works.
Botanical plate and ancient mosaic representing the oak tree
Dried oak leaves
At the studio, our graphic designer Gabrielle embroidered several models of oak leaves on cardboard markers, she then digitized to create the grid and colorization. These oak leaves associated with flowers make up the Anima pattern.
A Mythic Nature
Taking Nature as a model, looking at its forms and its subtle color palettes and transposing all this into a collection, is part of my creative process as it has always been since the beginning, since the green and purple heather struck my imagination in Scotland.
Human nature mood board, color palettes of the collection
Knitwear tradition from the British Islands is part of the brand’s DNA. On the mood board, fisherman’s sweaters motifs
Mood board: androgynous nature
Autumn-winter 2020-21 outfits for shooting
The wild landscapes of United Kingdom are "ever-inspiring" and particularly the islands off the coast of Scotland and Ireland, where a strong tradition of knitwear has been living among the fishermen's families. Every sailor had its own thick woolen sweater to protect him against rough weather, knitted in a unique mix of stitches, like a signature, that helped to identify him in case of shipwreck.
With winter 20-21 collection, I wanted to come back on these traditional stitches from British and Irish islands to twist them, mix them with other motifs and give them different color palettes.
From one collection to the next one
Aileen theme is an example of those creative "round trips". We went back to Carlotta jacquard from SS20 collection to change it into digital print with additional Gansey motifs and new color variations.
The choice of a tweedy wool for Hebrides or Innishmore themes, or a felted wool for Shelter and Eriskay themes, comes out of these influences.
Herman Melville, who was already there in SS19 collection, is driving me across the Atlantic, many miles West on Moby Dick’s track, off the coast of Nantucket, hotspot for Whale fishing. The novelist is describing an eternal nature whose power commands respect.
I was also thinking of one of his darkest novels "Pierre or The Ambiguities" which is telling about the misguided and lost life of a young man facing his father’s past mistakes and I had in head a very romantic part (we are in the middle of the XIXth century…) where Pierre is huddling up in the forest close to an ancient tombstone.
The Scottish artist Duncan Grant, figurehead of Bloomsbury group, is often "pinned" on my mood boards. His dandyism inspired me a men suit knitted in textured multicolored stripes.
Dandy theme is illustrated on a pant-suit, short pants and skirts. The decorative stripes are outstanding on pleated skirt.
What’s new in AW 20-21 collection?
Choice of yarns for AW collection
Harvest reversible theme
This year, jade green and ginger are joining the colors of winter palette.
Concerning color variations, we played on complementary shades like in Moss theme below, where a burgundy selvedge is enhancing yellow.
Detail of Moss jacquard: a trompe l’oeil of oversized purl stitch
This winter, Harvest is the reversible jacquard of the collection: on the front, a patchwork of stylized leaves and small geometrical shapes and plain hairy alpaca on the back.This double bed knitting technique is now permanent of the brand.
As for style, the outfits are following the path of last summer. Here are oversized sweaters again to wear with short pants or with an extra-long cardigan for a slender look.