LOUISE SIMMONDS

...blurring the lines between couture and ready-to-wear

Louise Simmonds is a designer with the highest quality of clothing on her mind. Whilst studying and since graduating, Louise has worked with designers such as N.O.K.I, Boudicca, and after a personal recommendation while assisting Giles Deacon, she also worked freelance for Geraldine Larkin. The couture attitude towards ready-to-wear doesn’t stop there, having also been privileged to work with Shirley Hex, couture milliner to Galliano and Valentino and former teacher of Stephen Jones and Philip Tracey. Louise, under Shirley’s advice and guidance, created her first collection of couture hats.

“My first collection is inspired by religious art of the Italian renaissance. Masters in light and form such as Caravaggio and Da Vinci informed a rich yet worn colour palette with flashes of luminosity. Authenticity and the integrity of the designs are important for me, therefore original Ecclesiastical fabrics are recontextualised, referencing the individual history attached to each piece such as an antique altar cloth hand-painted and cut with inspiration from priests' robes.

My work is about accurate attention to detail with a couture treatment of ready-to-wear. Every detail is considered; how the garment will feel, move, protect, expose and evolve with the wearer. My designs are always about an attempt at understanding and questioning women’s desires and needs from contemporary fashion, what fashion is and how the two are unavoidably interlinked. Strong but delicate clothing is designed to last and grow with the owner to expose their beauty and protect their weaknesses.

I first started to take an interest in clothes when I was probably about eight years old; I used to make everything by hand, I mean, with a needle and thread so I guess that’s where my love of couture and hand crafted-details within garments comes from. The first patterns I made where during primary school, by laying fabric on the floor, lying on top of it and drawing round myself... it works, I promise! I developed my fashion skills a lot over the years and last year graduated with a 1st class honours degree in fashion... and, no, I don’t draw around myself any more for patterns.”

The idea behind the capsule collection is to create a strong distinct range of beautifully made and cut pieces with stunning details at the highest quality. Items of clothing to be thrown on by modern women who seek the fabulously classic with a twist outfit ready to go at the drop of a hat, something looking fabulous with a pleasant feel on the skin.

Nothing inspires me like...
Everything and anything; some days nothing, other days too much to scribble down before the next idea is budging its way in, impatiently...

I hope...
To continue making beautiful clothes and one day file things in order!!

Cultural influences...
Are everywhere around you. I think that living in London definitely has its advantages with so much always going on and such a diverse mix of people and cultures, but sometimes it’s the small details in forgotten places that start the most amazing thought process.

I got where I am...
Sounds cliché, but hey its true – lots of hard work and coffee, as well as people believing in me and never giving up.

Fashion can sometimes...
Be misused and corrupted by naughty people, but fundamentally is a great art form, with lots of lovely and very talented people working and creating great work. It’s all about the work for me.

Money makes...
Some things a bit harder and some a bit easier, but everything more complex.

Creativity comes from...
Something inside you, I can't really put my finger on it. Physically, it is a feeling that starts in the pit of your stomach, makes your head tingle and ends up in the tips of your finger tips.

I once thought...
That I would be a marine biologist travelling the world working on conservation projects looking after dolphins and whales. I got the grades, then the drawings took over. I still love animals though, they make me smile.

My dreams...
Are a possibility as are everybody’s.

My future is...
Very exciting, sometimes the going is hard, but each day I never know what’s coming, and that’s what’s exciting. Each day is a step closer to my goals.

My vice...
Smoking, I have cut down though. Oh and over-thinking about everything too much... that’s two vices, is that ok?

There's a new...
Mood in the air, there is anxiety but also a chance for something new which we need so desperately as a society, I am hoping for a cultural renaissance.

My goal...
Is to approach clothing with a couture attitude. By this I mean taking the time and consideration applied to couture, the extravagance and the fantasy and apply it to very special pieces of clothing.

I don't think...
I could do anything else and be truly happy. I love lots of other art forms, but there is something inexplicable about the constant development and evolution of clothing upon the body.

My biggest regret...
Is always something, some small detail in my latest piece of work, but this is good for the work. It’s always about the work and the garments and getting closer every time to perfection, if such a thing exists.