Growing up in the small city of Kaluga, two-hours away from Moscow, MA Fashion Design Technology Womenswear graduate Dmitry Gotsfrid used the ‘Golden Age of Couture’ and glamour in France and Britain during the late 1940s to 1950s as the inspiration for his final collection. We explore the techniques that brought his ‘Femme Fatale’ collection and discuss winning an Emporio Armani x British Fashion Council competition ahead of the LCFMA18 Womenswear Live Stream show on Thursday 15 February.
Tell us about your final collection…
‘Femme Fatale’ is a collection of femininity, glamour and class of the past with a twist of modernity that places it in the contemporary world. The world of Haute Couture was the starting and main point of the inspiration for my collection. Throughout the extensive research gathered for this collection, I looked at the work of masters like Christian Dior, Cristobal Balenciaga, Charles James and other couturiers of the golden era of fashion. Throughout my archive research and observation of gowns and couture pieces, I studied each piece carefully to understand the fundamental techniques used to create them so I could use these for my own pieces. The main focus of ‘Femme Fatale’ was about the inner construction of the couture garment, ‘the skeleton’ of the dress as I like to call it because I find it much more fascinating to look inside a garment. I’m fascinated with the architectural feel that has been archived through the construction, moulding and layering.
What techniques did you use for your collection…
With my work, I put quality and the feel of my clothes at the top of the list, that’s why all the garments are made using a few couture techniques. The techniques used for this collection are quite traditional in a sense – thread embroideries with crystals, feathers and fabrics. I wanted to treat traditional fabrics and embroideries in a slightly different way. After a long process of flat work on the textiles, they then go on top of the support garment structures and finally become 3D pieces. This way of working ensures the perfect fit for the wearer and the garment looks exceptional. From the beginning I wanted to use see-through fabrics to show the inner construction of the garments. The lighter and more transparent fabrics have helped move my collection into the modern world, the everyday life where a woman can wear a unique garment that makes her feel independent, more feminine but at the same time that doesn’t restrict her mobility and freedom of movement. I collaborated with companies like Sophie Hallette, Raintree Design, Saga Furs, Hockley, Izzet Ers, Southcombe and others during the manufacturing of the collection.
What made you chose LCF and London…
I studied BA (Hons) Fashion Design Technology Womenswear at LCF before my MA, so I felt really accustomed to the way things work around here. I looked at some other courses in different universities but they all seemed too artsy for me, whereas LCF covers a more technical side of fashion which spoke to me a lot more at this stage of my development. I wanted to improve my technical skills with this MA as well as develop my personal style. LCF has always felt like home to me during the last 4 and a half years. All of my friends are here and we are scattered from around the world, which is amazing because it still feels like you are a part of a dysfunctional family.
What were the highlights and biggest challenges of your course…
The biggest challenge for me was making sure the collection was ready within 6 weeks. Although it was just a few looks, I basically had to work as the whole company putting the collection together. All the jobs fell on me, like outsourcing, buying, developing, designing, sampling, toiling, which is usually done by a number of people, instead it was all my responsibitly.
The highlight was meeting people in the industry, people who kindly agreed to work or to sponsor me. It was amazing to realise that these people believe in my generation as the future of fashion and that they were so willing to support me. It was a great pleasure to meet and to get to know my course leader Nigel Luck. He is one of those rare people and teachers in your life that helps you grow professionally and personally. His profound, intelligent and inspiring tutoring will forever be one of the greatest experiences of my professional career.
I also wanted to say thanks to a very special human called Leanne Callon, who also studied with me on the course. Without her, this year would have been a very hard game to play. And of course the highlight is going to see my collection at the show, seeing them on women, seeing their reaction, this reminds me why I’m doing what I do.
What song or album are you currently listening to?
The last few months have been soundtracked by 80s playlists following me in my headphones. I can’t put my finger on what but there is something cool about that era of music, maybe because my parents partied then and I use to play it in my car while driving to see my friends. The one song I listen to no matter what time of the day it is or mood I’m in, is ‘Bittersweet Symphony’ by The Verve.
Have you been on a work placement or internship…
My first internship was at Meadham Kirchoff which gave me an insight into how London-based ready-to-wear companies run their businesses. I then interned at Giles Deacon where I was part of the design team working on AW15. After my internship, I landed a freelance position within their team in the lead up to their AW16 Haute Couture presentation in Paris. I’ve since worked on the production of private client orders throughout the last year.
My biggest inspirations and muses are…
Usually I get inspired on a personal level by the stories of great women. I often come back to the story of Marie Antoinette, subconsciously thinking of Marlene Dietrich, Marylin Monroe, Edie Sedgwick and others. But they are always stories of very strong women in their own right. The world of Haute Couture continues to inspire me every day, I strive to know and learn about it and believe its beauty and craft should be preserved. Nature has always been one of the main points in my design work. I think I’m the happiest when I’m surrounded by it.
What are your plans for life after your MA…
In 2017 I won the Emporio Armani x British Fashion Council competition for my bomber jacket design. I travelled to Milan in the summer to meet the Armani team and work on the toile of the jacket that was later produced in different sizes and sold at the Armani store in Bond Street. As part of the prize they generously offered me a 3-month internship in Milan where I’ll be going after I finish my studies. I couldn’t be more excited about the next chapter of my life!
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