Two second year BA (Hons) Fashion Contour students – Céline Wenninger and Florence Morris-Clarke – have been shortlisted for the prestigious Link Award – part of the MarediModa|IntimodiModa fair held in Cannes. The fair is a renowned annual event dedicated to beachwear and lingerie fabrics and accessories.
The finalists will have a showroom and a catwalk to showcase their collections, as well as a professional photo shoot, and the winners will get the opportunity to undertake a work experience placement at an Italian beachwear or lingerie company.
LCF News caught up with Florence and Céline ahead of their trip to Cannes to find out why they chose to study BA (Hons) Fashion Contour at LCF, and what winning the Link Award would mean to them.
Why did you choose to study BA (Hons) Fashion Contour at LCF?
Céline: To be honest I didn’t actually know anything about the Fashion Contour course until a friend told me about it a few months before it started. I instantly felt that LCF offered exactly what I was looking for. I wanted to specialise in intimate apparel such as lingerie and corsetry. The fact that LCF works so closely with industry partners, really convinced me to apply to the course.
Florence: London London London! For me the city is a huge source of inspiration, the mix of people and places is a constant stimulant for ideas. Plus, the incredible connections that LCF has with the industry are an enormous bonus. Not forgetting that the Fashion Contour course is only on offer at three universities in the world, so for me it was an easy choice.
How did you find out about the Link Award?
Céline: Our teachers regularly inform us about design competitions and really encourage us to take advantage of all the opportunities offered to us within and outside university. After talking to last year’s winner Jacelyn from the year above, I was really motivated to submit my designs and dedicated my holidays to my competition entry.
Florence: Our course leader sent us an email advertising the competition, however I had previously heard about it through other students entering.
What was the inspiration behind the collection you designed and submitted for the award?
Céline: I was inspired by the beautifully ornamented side gates of the Petit Palais in Paris. I tried to combine sophisticated Parisian chic, with a discrete version of pretty bondage within this mini collection. The main concept was to blur the boundaries between intimate apparel and racy outerwear and create a range worn to be seen.
Florence: My initial inspiration came from a desire to create something new for the female surf and dive markets. I wanted the collection to have a sports-luxe feel, but with a fresher, more feminine approach. I took specific detailing and aesthetic inspiration from studying elements of Eastern culture and traditions, because of the close connection that Asian regions have with the ocean. This was particularly influential on my print design. I then combined it with elements of professional diving gear and apparatus. And voila!
Are you looking forward to attending the awards in Cannes? How does it feel to have been shortlisted?
Céline: Yes, absolutely! It is the first fashion competition I have ever taken part in and it is so exciting for me to get myself out there, and compete with so many other highly talented designers. I feel truly honored to be one of the finalists.
Florence: YES – I can’t really believe it to be honest! I’ve been so focused on just developing and creating my pieces that it hasn’t really sunk in that we head to Cannes in a few days. I am beyond excited to see my pieces on the runway. Mainly I am absolutely honored and delighted to be able to show my work at such a prestigious event and to be working alongside such talented designers and industry professionals. The whole process has completely changed the way I now approach my work, and has taught me so many valuable skills and lessons I will definitely hold onto.
What would winning the award mean to you?
Céline: Having this incredible opportunity to show my collection on a catwalk in front of so many industry professionals, is more than I could possibly have imagined after completing my first year at university. It will most probably result in another tattoo inspired by the collection, and as a memory of my first ever runway show!
Florence: Just being involved this far has led to attending otherwise inaccessible events and meeting some very inspiring people, I would be thrilled to see what opportunities are beyond the final stage. The prestigious nature of the competition also means it will be a real bonus to highlight this in my portfolio and in order to stand out.
What else are you working on at the moment?
Céline: Our brief this term is an industry project together with the erotic luxury brand Coco de Mer. We’re designing and developing nightwear for their Autumn/Winter 16 collection, which will be presented to the designers towards the end of term. In my free time, I also work as a freelance lingerie designer specialising in bespoke luxury lingerie and currently develop some custom made pieces for various shoots within and outside Europe.
Florence: I’m currently working on a collaborative project, designing a nightwear range for the Autumn/Winter 16 season for Coco de Mer. A lot of my time is being spent researching and hunting down potential companies to apply to intern with next year!
What are your plans for after you finish your BA (Hons) Fashion Contour course?
Céline: I definitely want to have my own label specialising in custom made pieces rather than going into mass production. At the same time, I would also love to work for a notable couture house, focusing on intimate and delicate pieces.
Florence: I want to work in the creative sector, initially with an existing brand, to gain as much experience as I can. I have always had an interest in theatre, film, dance and performance too, so I hope to one day be creating more bespoke, one-off show pieces.
The winners of the Link Award will be announced on Thursday 5 November 2015.