Monday, 31 October 2011


Imaginative and contemporary awareness are the words, which in short, epitomize Steffie Christiaens’s work. Through experimenting and observing the world around her, Steffie creates striking garments that altogether capture the metamorphoses of “Mother Nature.”
Steffie grew up in a little village in the south of the Netherlands. As the place was so remote, far from sophistication and modernism, Steffie started contemplating and amusing herself with the elements of nature around her at quite an early age. She became intrigued by its natural, organic and distorted phenomena, which together felt inspiring and adventurous.
As a teenager, she began photographing “the changes in the seasons and the sky” and would build 3D shapes out of wood and metal to set them and picture them in the wild. One day, while filming a cherry tree covered with netting, she finally came to realise her “elemental inspiration.” Steffie says that from growing up in the countryside, she realised that one can find influences everywhere in the world, “it doesn’t have to be enormous or beautiful.” A few years later, those inspirations evolved into a design process where the arts meet fa
High School and travelling made her want to explore more. Steffie applied to ArtEZ, Academy of Visual Arts in Arnhem, Netherlands where she was trained in the fields of fabric design, 3D construction and printing. On graduating in 2008, she then moved to Paris for a postgraduate diploma at IFM, Institut Français de la Mode. Above her strong personal sentiment towards the city of Paris, Steffie says her love for the fashion houses based there was a strong motivation. And when Steffie sets herself some goals, she seems pretty good at reaching them...
Between 2007 and 2010 Steffie successively became ‘collection assistant’ at Maison Martin Margiela (2007) and Atelier Balenciaga (2009 - 2010), and collaborated in the design of a shoe collection with Louis Vuitton in 2008. In the meantime, she was also selected as a finalist at the prestigious Hyères festival in France and produced a short silent movie ‘Deliquesce’ in conjunction with the launch of her website. In 2010, Steffie Christiaens established her studio in Paris and managed to get her label represented by TOTEM, one of the leading young designer Press Offices in Paris. The young designer then went on to hold her first runway collection at the Monnaie de Paris in March 2011 during the official ready-to-wear AW1112 schedule.
The collections “personify” the asymmetry of nature and the movement of wind, water and fire. The clothes are indeed conceptual, body conscious and rather fluid with somewhat of a futuristic twist. The colour palette is deep, contrasting with very light, nude tones. So far, the shades range from charcoal, dark purple, piercing blue to delicate creams and powdery ash. Alongside with cashmere and silk, Steffie tailors with luxury materials such as exotic skins, crocodile and nubuck python. Her intuitive approach to the human body is definitely reflected in her provocative, wavy but at the same time, sharp silhouettes. The construction of the garments is also definitely technical. Talking about her dream and given her successful debut in the fashion industry, Steffie remains utterly down to earth considering her young age: “I would love to create an appreciated fashion house, achieved with the people with whom I’m working with closely. Together with them I would love to fulfill the desire of bringing every season a new collection that satisfies the expectations of the people who wear my clothes.”

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