A soothing display of light and colour that bounce and dance throughout the film, Valentine Dardel's Meditationswear: 7, An Ethereal Journey, was made to show off her final collection while studying at Central Saint Martins. Using caustics as the main inspiration for her work, Dardel is heavily inspired by light as a concept, focusing on exalting its reflections and refractions within textile design. Editorial assistant Christina Donoghue spoke with Dardel about the trials and tribulations of film and dressmaking when specifically interested in light and sound and how this translates into fashion design.
Christina Donoghue: How did you get into filmmaking?
Valentine Dardel: Designers and artists always have something that mesmerises them and drives them to create. In my case, it is light movement, reflection and refraction. Many of my inspirations come from sources of movement. For example, caustics caused by refraction are A primary inspiration of mine. I first started my animation process by experimenting with 3D software such as Cinema 4D.
CD: How did you come up with the concept for this film?
VD: I saw this film as my opportunity to merge all the different mediums that I cherish: digital art, textile design, and performance art. The fashion film you see here is the final chapter of a 14-minute longer film I made. This chapter represents my spiritual awakening. My last year as a student at Central Saint Martins was very stressful due to the pressure I was putting on myself to succeed amidst the current issues in the world, some of which leave very few opportunities for young creators. I arrived at a point where I wasn't even enjoying working; at that point, I decided that the centre point of my collection would be a performance about well-being, starting with mine and hopefully sharing a soothing experience for everyone watching.
CD: What do you want the viewer to take away from watching this short film?
VD: I hope they will get curious and look at the entire film available here to understand the concept in full. More importantly, I hope that this short film will bring peace and joy to everyone who watches.
CD: Were there any specific inspirations visually you had in mind while filming Meditationswear: 7, An Ethereal Journey?
VD: Yes, I had one main inspiration regarding how I wanted to shoot the film. Paul Rousteau is a French photographer who has an amazing sense of colour and focus/out of focus. His way of photographing gives me a feeling of fairytale and magic. He inspired me, and I created a film leaving a part to the mystery by playing with the blurry effect. Otherwise, regarding textile and 3D animation, it was my own practice that inspired me.
CD: Can you talk a bit about the clothes used in the film?
VD: The clothes present in the film were all made by myself. They are robes and capes made out of pleated organza. The pleating was made in collaboration with Ciment Pleating. The pleating technique is very close to my heart as it is such a delicate craft and finish, while no chemicals are needed or added to the fabric. It is one of the most respectful techniques and is one of the main reasons I decided to work with pleating. I was trying to achieve the perfect flow for the overall performance with those garment structures, while the pleating was my way to distort the light even more. Finally, there is a delicate knitted veil that I also knitted myself on a domestic knitting machine. The veil represents the mask we often hide behind, and in the performance, I am getting free from the veil/mask and into the real me.