Earlier this year in February during London Fashion Week, I went to see emerging designer Vanessa Bon’s futuristic A/W 20 collection which she showcased as part of the Westminster’s BA show. I managed to catch up with the designer and learn more about her background and the inspiration behind her collection in this interview.
Firstly congratulations on your London Fashion Week debut in February. I loved the voluminous sleeves and your use of colour, can you tell us a bit about the inspiration behind your collection?
Thank you so much! It’s really really lovely to hear positive responses to the work. In terms of the inspiration for my collection, I wanted to create a vision of the female of the future, a sartorial interpretation of power and fetishism inspired by the heroines of retro-futurist films. To do this, I wanted to explore representations of ‘hyper-femininity’ from the past and contrast it with a sharper/more aggressive futuristic aesthetic. In my eyes, the clothes of the female of the future are a hybrid of both ends of the spectrum. The garments I sought to create acknowledge the past of womenswear, like big gathered sleeves and soft organza layers with embellishments, but want to push the strength and power that resides in the woman who wears them, she’s electric and fierce, so elements of sportswear and technical materials were incorporated into the mix!
How long did it take you to put the whole collection together?
I began researching visuals over my year out in the industry, but it was only until I got back to University in late September that I really began the sampling and properly designing from the research. It was less than five months to put it all together, and it went by in a heartbeat! But it was an incredible ride.
What were some of your challenges?
Some of my challenges in the collection were having to problem-solve and take decisions so quickly. In previous years we would design two looks in six weeks, and this time there had to be a new look every two weeks! But it really pushed me to trust my gut and the skills the course and industry have given me.
I think overall I wanted to really really push myself in every way possible for the collection, so I chose difficult silhouettes and difficult materials and fabrications, which was at times very stressful. But I learnt so much in the process! mainly because of the enormous amounts of support from technicians and my first-year helpers I received, we always managed to resolve it one way or another.
You’ve worked with some more established brands such as Mary Katrantzou. How do you feel those experiences helped prepare you for your current fashion journey?
I think industry experience is absolutely vital. University prepares your skills, work ethic and vision but the fashion world is so much more complex than that! and it takes to be inside it to get a complete understanding of it.
I have worked in both emerging brands and more established companies and each one has given me incredibly valuable knowledge. For example in London at Kiko Kostadinov and Charlotte Knowles I got to witness mind-blowing pattern-cutting, refinement and attention to detail as well as very strong visions that I admire very much.
At Mary Katrantzou I learnt so much about textile development and fabrication, the countless things you can do to a square of fabric! and at Thom Browne in New York, I learnt about the beauty of tailoring, silhouette and draping, and product in a luxury company.
I think besides the work-ethic, organisational skills and understanding of the industry that these companies gave me, they also most certainly each influenced a part of the aesthetic I have developed as a designer.
Can you tell us a bit about your background?
I’m from Mexico, born and raised! I always had an interest in languages and the arts so I wanted to move abroad to pursue both. I came to London in 2016 to study a foundation at Central Saint Martins and then continued my studies in fashion at Westminster up until now.
What’s next in store for you?
I would like to work in the industry for some time to refine my skills. I always feel like there is so much to learn! and I’m at my happiest when I have a challenge and a learning opportunity. I want to learn more about couture and specialist techniques perhaps in Paris, do a Masters Degree afterwards and do my own thing eventually. Fingers crossed!
To learn more about Vanessa visit https://www.instagram.com/vanebon