As promised, here is our interview with our fashion designer in residence Beatrice Newman aka KORLEKIE, who’s SS14 collection Ophelia is now on show here at The Strand Gallery until 15th September.
Ophelia (SS14) by Korlekie
Tell us a little about yourself; where did your interest in fashion stem from?
It began at home , I was brought up in an African culture. It introduced me to a diversity of rich textiles and colour, which I then translated into unique modern clothing. My need to learn about fashion and different textiles also sparked a passion for knitwear and other types of hand-weaving techniques such macramé and crocheting. However, I believe my general love for fashion, as well as my flair in creating fabrics, has allowed for me to begin challenging preconceived notions in fashion.
What were the prominent inspirations when designing your collection Ophelia?
I am very much inspired by the regal heritage of monarchs such as the Tsars, and the gothic illustrious work of Edmund Dulac, Harry Clarke and Arthur Rackham, to name a few. The colour palette and other intricacies are always referenced in my work. Through the continuous development of my brand, I have noticed that much of my style in designs do stem from a broad catalogue of inspirations from C14th- C19th paintings and buildings.
What is the story and ideas behind Ophelia?
I am significantly inspired by Pre-Raphaelite art at the moment, in particular the painting ‘Ophelia’ by Millais. While it is a beautiful artwork, it has been a great way for my brand to realise colour in a gothic and romantic way. ‘Ophelia’, to me, represents the bittersweet of life- something of great influence to my designs and outlook. I try to find beauty in objects and notions people would not expect. ‘Ophelia’ is also a reflection of femininity; its fragility and power through seduction and beauty. Like a rose, it is delicate and bewitching but its thorns will make you bleed.
Ophelia (SS14) by Korlekie
Ophelia by British artist Sir John Everett Millais, completed in 1852. The influence of the painting’s whimsical beauty is clear throughout Beatrice’s current collection.
How does this collection stand out from your previous others?
The SS14 collection is definitely a slight step away from the dark luxurious long knitted gowns that haunted the runway for AW13. It expresses another side of Korlekie that is softer, delicate and feminine. It stands out from the previous collection because it is more unique, yet ofcourse it is still part of the brand’s DNA. It simply signifies a change in direction in the way I am inspired and how I create.
You’ve had lots of success in your career, what has been your proudest moment?
I am grateful for the success but I believe the brand has still a way to go. I feel my success has been measured by goals. On my journey to achieving these goals, I’ve picked up “points/awards”, but ultimately the real success is still a way to go. I don’t really have a proudest moment, as I find having the opportunity to wake up and design is a proud moment to surpass all others.
What does the future hold for Korlekie?
As long as I have the grace to continue what I love doing, Korlekie will continue to strive, and hopefully one day conquer!
For more information about the show, contact email@example.com // 0207 205 2217