This is the story of Susy Brown and her dresses and how they both whispered into my heart, a secret about staying in love with fashion. Who would turn down a dance with pleats that could frolic all the way down to the knee in cerulean blue; or even the subtlety of a scoop neck with long sleeves? Not I said the cat, who had been visually pampered by the comfortable yet dramatic designs of SB. I could not have been the only one lucky enough to discover this secret, surely there had to have been others at Graduate Fashion Week, eagerly ease dropping on her beautiful collection too.
LG: Tell me about the inspiration behind your graduate collection.
SB: My initial inspiration was the anatomy and structure of bird skeletons. Specifically there is a Victorian cabinet at the Natural History Museum, which breaks a bird down into component parts. It's a bit gruesome but it really helped to inform my ideas on silhouette, colour and texture.
LG: That is simply brilliant. It's obvious that fashion is really special to you, can you share with me why?
SB: I think fashion is so important to me because it can bring people alive. Clothes show the outside who we are on the inside; the ability to devise garments that can inspire and ignite someone's imagination seems like something really special.
LG: When you put it like that it sounds very special indeed. So now onto your first, what was the first thing that you ever designed?
SB: I'm not really sure what the first thing I ever designed was. I remember making my first dress with my mum's help when I was about 10; it was purple cotton with a square gypsy neckline and puffed sleeves.
CUTTING THE CLOTH
LG: What has been your most challenging moment as a designer?
SB: Without a shadow of a doubt my hardest moment was the decision to redesign my whole final collection with 2 weeks left to make it. It was an insane decision as it meant pattern cutting, toiling and making my whole collection from scratch, but I managed it and I know it was the right decision to make.
LG: Well I am certainly glad to hear that. Now skipping a step or two, what advice can you give to other young designers now that you are in your final stage?
SB: Stick to your guns and trust your gut feelings; trust your own tastes and don't try and replicate anyone else's.
HER GUILTY PLEASURES
LG: So what's your GP?...your Guilty Pleasure that is.
SB: Dresses with volume. I'm really drawn to the movement of fabric and the way a fabric behaves, so I always enjoy designing a garment which allows the fabric to do the talking, which I guess is why voluminous and full dresses are my go-to design.
LG: That sounds lovely, so memorable. Speaking of something memorable, can you tell me of something of your mother's that you loved and admired?
SB: The smell of Diorella always makes me think of my mum at her most glamorous. It only came out on the most special of occasions, but the smell always takes me back to the most vivid early childhood memories of my mum in sheer black tights, a black polo neck wool dress, a small beaded black clutch bag and mid height black velvet heels.
LG: Bring it back, bring it back! So Susy, who and what do you want brought
back into fashion?
SB: I don't think there has ever been a chicer image than Helmet Newton's photo of Yves Saint Laurent's "le smoking" trouser suit. I 'd definitely bring back razor sharp trousers suits. It's such a powerful version of femininity.
LG: Ok very nice! I love YSL as well. Now, let's do a quick wardrobe check,
fill in the blanks:
During the day you can catch me in ______.
Then later on that night I'm wearing______.
SB: During the day you can catch me in tight jeans and a smocky top. Jewellery, lots!
Then later on that night I'm wearing heels and a dress!
ANYTHING YOU WANT TO ADD
LG: Ok I will wrap it up, but first tell me, is there anything you want to add?
SB: Just that I am in a scary but also an exciting place at the moment. It's strange to leave my degree behind, but that I'm really looking forward to any possibilities and opportunities that are hopefully in the future.