WHO IS exhibition
by Wendy Johnson (for LFW)
When Louisa de Smet was invited to incorporate furniture design into her fashion design, she didn’t skip a beat. Louisa, the local fashion designer behind the label Corr Blimey, understands the intrinsic value of quality design, no matter what the discipline. And she was even more intrigued by the invitation because of the connection to Germany. So let’s take a step back and put all of this together for you.
Designcraft, which sells a wide range of authentic Australian and international furniture—mostly top-notch lines available exclusively through their massive showroom in Hume—loves the idea of cross-pollinating local business and international brands.
One of their iconic lines of furniture is Walter Knoll, based in Germany and celebrating 150 years in business in 2015. Designcraft also knew of Louisa, who has visited Berlin with her partner Steven Wright several times, each time inspired by what they saw on a deep level—architecture, colours, culture and quirkiness of so many of the hidden gems they stumbled across while wandering the city’s streets. Why not bring the two together brands together and see what could transpire, thought Bob Fenderson, Managing Director of Designcraft.
Louisa has since studied Walter Knoll furniture at Designcraft, from top to bottom, and is now adding the finishing touches on a collection of new fashion called Propaganda. Half of the collection will be featured at WHO IS, the free exhibition Designcraft is hosting 21 to 28 March (the public is welcome). The other half will be launched at the catwalk at FASHFEST, Canberra’s annual red-carpet fashion event.
‘We’ve had an appreciation for German design for a long time but have only recently started incorporating it into our design practice,’ says Louisa. ‘Berlin especially had a surreal mix of old buildings brandishing the wounds of the war and modern graffiti. In Germany we found a kindred spirit.’
Corr Blimey’s new collection includes the grey felt Lantern Skirt. “The colour palette is based on the neutral colour pallet found within Walter Knoll collections,” says Louisa. “The correlation between the Lantern Skirt and furniture is also drawn from the properties of the material, the construction and the detail. The felt used to make the skirt has properties that when exploited create structure.”
The final shape of the Lantern Skirt was informed by Walter Knoll’s MYchair and the Berlin Cathedral. “The design features single lines of stitching along seams and minimal high-quality materials,” says Louisa. “It also includes a decorative detail that isn’t seen from a distance, but that becomes apparent upon closer inspection.”
The sculptural pendant worn with the Lantern Skirt was created by Louisa’s brother, Aaron de Smet, of Silver Atom. The pendant is made with the same geometric style featured in many of Walter Knoll’s tables and chair legs. Like some other of Silver Atom’s work, it can be worn as jewellery or placed on a table as objet d’art.
Corr Blimey’s Propaganda collection also includes pieces like the black-and-white Crossroads dress and the Scaffolding Dress, which will all be at the WHO IS exhibition, and will be the first opportunity for Canberrans to also view new pieces and ranges of Walter Knoll furniture, never before seen here. Walter Knoll is growing its residential side in leaps and bounds. The company will take over the showroom at Designcraft for the duration of the exhibition.
WHO IS celebrates the reputation German design has upheld for decades. It focuses on how great design always combines strong principles, incredible attention to detail and precise manufacturing processes. “Design and aesthetic is a big part of whether someone loves something,” says Samuel Gowland, Regional Director of Sales and Marketing, Walter Knoll Australia. “It’s the first thing you see. But when you dig beneath the surface, you uncover what goes into making something, whether it’s a piece of furniture or an item of fashion. There’s definitely a link between us and a quality label like Corr Blimey.”
Featuring Walker Knoll furniture and Corr Blimey fashion, WHO IS is a free furniture plus fashion exhibition from 21 – 28 March and is open to the public daily from 10am – 4pm. The exhibition will give Canberrans an opportunity to talk to designers; see fabulous design up close, and even have a tour of the Designcraft Factory and Showroom at 8 Tralee Street, Hume. The tour will be held on Thursday 26 March 3 – 4pm and will be conducted by Bob Fenderson of Designcraft and Sam Gowland from Walter Knoll. It will also include a talk by designer Louisa de Smet, of Corr Blimey, on her new collection Propaganda from 4 – 6pm.
Fashion: Corr Blimey
Model: Rachel from HAUS Models
Hair: Wayne Friend, Director of Hair for FASHFEST, Form Hair
MUA: Suzie Walden
Furniture: Walter Knoll
On location: Designcraft