Phosphorescent is Louise Bennetts final collection for her Masters thesis at the Royal College of Art, UK. Named after the qualities of a phosphorescent jewel, which ‘gives off its glow and color in the dark and loses its beauty in the light of day’, as quoted from Junichiro Tanizaki, In Praise of Shadows. Influenced by contemporary themes of intervention, hacking and fixing, where people actively alter their possessions in an effort to render them unique and lengthen their life. Bennetts desire is to create pieces that carry the same sense of narrative, as altered vintage clothing, revealing through their very structure, the process by which they came to be, as well as hinting to how they might be adapted in the future.
Bennetts interest is in the way we use, wear and inhabit products, the lives they go on to have, and the relationships that are forged with those who use them. Each of the collection pieces are suspended, somewhere between being strung together and elegantly falling apart. The collection features a beautiful British made horsehair canvas in rich black, with the gleam of a show horse’s main, and the body of a course organza, creating a volume and architecture to her designs. Unwanted, discarded classic metal boning is used as a trim throughout the collection, adding yet more volume and structure, with the ends finished with a new play dough product that can be molded, called Sugru. Rich black silhouettes have hidden depth and patination, made from fine organic cork veneer, looking more like a high tech rubberized fabric than an organic floor tile!
Sleeves are suspended and strung together, as are entire bodices from yokes and collars. Patterns are duplicated, some split instead of darted, and design details are massively exaggerated with a vest featuring a single rever that extends from the neckline to the calf. Gentle undulating curves belay the strength of composition and materials, while monochromatic coloration lends sophistication and heightens the importance of texture, matt and sheen.
Completing her Bachelors degree from Edinburgh College of Art in 2012, Bennetts received a First Class Hons degree in Fashion Design. Research focused on examining the way in which designed objects are adapted over time. Inspired by the layered building facades of Siena, which betray a complex history of constant change and adaption. This collection went onto form the basis for her Masters thesis, poised as it is for change and adaption; ready to continue the narrative of how it came into being.