Walking into Myrza de Muynck's studio having seen her soft, terry-loop sweaters, with their blush, gauze overlays, and intricate embellishments, you'd wander in expecting her surroundings to reflect the cotton-soft, femininity of her previous work.
Unsurprisingly, we walk into a well-lit, well-tidied, flower-finished space; rolls of pastel coloured fabrics tucked neatly in the corner... but- again- we walked in with expectations mirroring what we'd seen walk down the runway, meaning we knew there was more to learn about the Dutch-born, CSM grad.
A little riffling through annotated print-outs of 20s flapper-girls, and we find our first insight into the quirky streak the "Muynck Girl" is so known to have (look closely at the first image, and you'll see it too...), so we sat down to discuss who exactly the "Muynck Girl" is, whether she's ready to mature, and where she's likely headed next- starting with how things have developed since previous seasons...
... It's a follow-up of my previous collection; different, but with the same 'spirit' as before. It looks kind of... sweet, but it's not. It's still got attitude.
Is that the kind of girl in your head when design? She's feminine- maybe even "girly"- but effortlessly "cool" at the same time?
Well, I can see anyone wearing [the pieces] really- even an older woman- because it has that... light, feminine look. I've got some women I really like that I think about, but... [in my work], when I design, it's mainly me, I guess. I do really like Gena Rowland; she's really lady-like, but with this "young" spirit, and she's... a bit odd- in an interesting way. I also think about Diana Vreeland; she's an "odd" character too, and there's this... authenticity about her. Women like that. I like to think of them.
So, there's something about your girl that's different; slightly off-kelter, not your "usual" sort...
Yeah, they have their own femininity. It's not your "usual", it's something coming from them.
Is this where the solid, intermittent blocks of red and leopard come into it- injecting, and enforcing that point of difference?
I chose the leopard because it has two readings: it is feminine in an "old-fashion" sort of way. [But] there's another side to it... it can have this... sort of "chavvy" feeling at the same time. So it has two elements that really fit with the casualness, and the luxuriousness of the collection. When you wear the pieces, you can interpret that in either way.
[Laughing] Well, the idea to have the shell-suit came from their uniformity, because- in a way- they're in a sort of uniform, but they're very authentic. There's something I really like about the idea of uniformity. Also there's this weird sort of "sexiness" [about them]; there are no inhibitions. They're just who they are. That's what I like about them, because they're not pretending.
Was introducing lingerie into next season's collection a way of subtly hinting at the "Muynck Girl" maturing, and injecting that sort of "sexiness" into your work?
I like the sexiness about the way you can style it into your look, like with the look-book image we did: the model has just a little beading showing through the [shell]-suit. I would really love to have a range.
The beading in the underwear, and embroidery throughout most of the collection has become a sort of "Myrza" staple; is this something you think we'll always be seeing?
I think so. I really like the 1920s, because of they way they worked, and the beading really comes from that. They had this really beautiful, couture way of working, with beautiful embroidery. So, yes, I think it will stay.
We gather there's a lot to the Muynck girl, but then there's a lot to the real, everyday girl, and woman- ladylike or not- which is what there is to appreciate about every bit of Myrza's work. Yes, it's feminine, but it doesn't have to be. There are the leopard-block bottoms to cater to your inner- upfront- temptress, and there's the amaranth-pink, gauze-fronted sweater, should you have a day you're feeling "dainty".
Myrza ties it up unknowingly with a statement made, walking us to the door...
I just like taking the sort of "cheap" feeling about [something], and making it into something really luxurious with beading... quilting... embroidery....