‘It started with a crumpled piece of paper basically,’ says Elaine Lip on the inception of her final collection. Looking at René Magritte’s The Gradation of Fire, a painting that depicts the burning of simple objects like an egg and a piece of paper, the knitwear graduate started to develop her concept of humanity evolving through a confrontation with danger. ‘It’s my attempt to express how fragility, when facing darkness, can shine brighter.’
Lip used inflexible materials like latex, interwoven with crochet, to create bold looks evoking fire. ‘The fragility is the human body, so the latex plays off restriction,’ she explains. ‘And the theme of flames is about burning through that restriction.’ The recurring image of flaming flowers, achieved through reflective yarn that glows brighter in the dark, serves as a motif that melds the delicate with the destructive. ‘My creative process is always changing,’ explains the designer. ‘But one thing that has stayed the same is the desire to find incompatible elements.’ Contrast abounds – whether in the fiery flowers or a dress made of mirrors and crochet to highlight transcendence and disappearance when facing constraint. A lot to get from just a piece of paper.
Lana Kozak, BA Fashion Journalism