For the Autumn Winter 2019 collection, Renli Su was inspired by the mythical seal girls called Selkies. In folklore, Selkies are described as girls who live in the ocean, with the appearance of seals.
These amorous, affectionate and friendly creatures are transformed from seal to girl by their shimmering sealskin coat. Stories of the selkies describe how sea-girls often live on land and find love, sometimes even start a family. However, the sea is the home of the Selkies and the pull of their roots is strong. Eventually, they will return to their sealskin coat and dive back into the sea. Their daughters, even if born on land, will have their own seal coat from birth and soon they too will feel the irresistible pull to the water.
The story telling nature of AW19 ‘s collection is weaved into the prints of the collection, inviting you to the underwater fantasy world of the seal girls. These prints are also seen throughout the lining of the outerwear. The prints embody the underwater home of the Selkies; winged seals between kelp, underwater weeds, little spiral sea flowers and floating branches of prehistoric saltwater algae. Reminiscing of botanical studies, the print mixes fantasy and realism.
Soft dusty pink tones appear throughout the collection. They can be seen within the jacquard outerwear, softly layered dresses, and delicate detailed tops and shirts. These pinks are highlighted with shiny silks, metallic jacquards, and gentle velvets.
Renli feels particularly drawn towards experimentation with velvet for this collection as it resembles the soft gentle nature of the seals skin. The collection includes artisanal velvet techniques such as; embroidered velvet, metallic woven velvet which allows the fabric to be crinkled and moulded into different shapes and also heat embossed velvet draped into the asymmetrical dresses and skirts. Velvet is present throughout the collection whether it be within the warm padded coats, the scalloped hemmed dresses or details within the long-flared coats.
The delicate pattern embroidered into the collection is composed of line drawings of waves and water creatures that are repeated over a base of sheer silk or natural cotton. These floaty detailed fabrics reflect the lightness and beauty of the underwater world in which the Selkies lived.
With the Myths of the Selkies collection, Renli wants to evoke a feeling of transformation. These garments can become skins which transform you into another representation of yourself, expressing your true nature in the comfort and ease of a different environment.
Photography: Marlen Keller
Styling: Julie Velut
Hair: Takuya Morimoto
Make-up: Mee Kee Song