This morning in the Fashion Scout Vestibule designer Jay Briggs transported onlookers into a world of water nymphs and powerful sorceresses. His SS15 collection, 'Melusina', is inspired by a 14th century tale, displayed intricate headpieces and hand-sewn chain-mail gowns designed to be worn by fearless, sovereign women.
The tale of Melusina tells the story of a prince who falls in love with a water nymph who agrees to marry him with the condition that she can bathe in the lake they met every year, without him looking. That promise however is broken. “I’ve twisted the story and said that he’s caught her bathing, and found out she is a water nymph and not a human being, so she swings her fin around him and drowns him,” explains the designer. “So the story behind this collection is that a man will always promise something to a woman he can’t understand.”
Using lace, leather and feathers as his main materials, Briggs created extremely feminine garments, which highlighted the power of femme fatales using transparencies and embellishments without forcing daintiness. Dressing a woman who shows independence, he describes her as someone who "stands on her own to feet. I want people to fear her.”
Highly focused on the contrasting textures and the juxtaposition of shimmering and opaque, the center piece of the collection is a full-white feathered dress with structured hips, complimented by a shimmering headdress in white lace taking the form of horns and framing the model’s white-painted face and body. Combined, these give the otherworldly dress an eerie, even more mythical feel which contrasts strongly against the darker garments on the mannequins.
When it comes to his creative process, the designer starts his creations straight onto the mannequin, which allows more hands on structuring. Another highlight of the show was a hand-sewn, seemingly delicate floor-length chain-mail dress, made of a sheet of fabric found in a most unusual way. “I was taking the trash out at work, and the bag was very heavy,” says the designer, “And I don’t know why, but I looked into it to see why it was so heavy and found this massive sheet of metal, which I used to hand-sow this floor-length gown.”
About his new collection, the designer hints that “there might be a form of religion in there”. Currently inspired by 15th century stories we're sure that whatever it is Jay Briggs designs for next season, there's no doubt we'll be transported to a new world of witchcraft and wonder.
By Biju Belinky (@bijubelinky)
Images by Elizabeth Hodson.