Behind the Collection: Aimee McWilliams

McWilliams_opener British designer Aimee McWilliams scored the coveted L'Oreal Total Look Award upon her graduation in 2003 from London's prestigious fashion training ground, Central Saint Martins. Since then, the young trailblazer hasn't looked back, raising plenty of critical interest (and eyebrows) for her signature collection of striking avant-garde womenswear. Here, she sheds some light on her creative process and what she was thinking while planning her Spring/Summer '06 collection.
1. Changing of the Guard
"I was in need of a louder statement," says Aimee. "I was also getting itchy feet as I often do. So I moved house, re-located the studio, and went colour crazy. I had been so tonal in my colour for the past few seasons, I felt I needed a release!"
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2. Vision Quest
"I tend to collect images and label my research period as from A to B. Everything and Anything goes into this visual diary," she says. "It's immensely personal and significant to me, yet I imagine this would look incredibly confusing to anyone else that enters [this] head-space. I like to use the images and thoughts to create special links. It's like formulating a recipe. I think processes such as this are both creative but scientific, too."
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3. Pushing the Envelope
"I have an obsession with galloping horses. I enjoy translating that sensation into the way in which I cut clothes--in particular, the chiffon aspects of the collection. I try to inject a subtle flamboyance into everything I do. Levels of characterization are also crucial. I like to be able to explore how far I can push techniques and contrast within a collection. For example, I will create extreme differences across the different fabric types. The sculptural elements versus the fluidity of the silk and chiffon. I'm also fascinated by the tonal effects of different film techniques and the colours they produce. I find it interesting the way something shot with different film can produce such vivid or mood-altering colour and tone."
4. Agent Orange
"The burnt orange silk and chiffon dress in French mustard are good examples," Aimee says about the collection's core pieces. "It flows back from the body like [that same] galloping horse. Similarly the brown degrade dress. The leathers in the Spring/Summer '06 collection have quite an opposite effect. They are sculptural and almost [mimic] wood from a distance."
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5. She's So Unusual
"There is a subtle flamboyance to my work. An air of eccentricity. I believe this to be true of every season. There is a distinct signature to the way in which my garments fit to the body. This is recognisable in the shows as well as when a women wears a piece. They have a sculpting effect, often [transforming] the body into a more flattering shape. Notice the tucked waists and the dropped arm-shapes."
6. Back to the Future
"For Fall 06, it's Dark and Lustrous--I become more and more ambitious with every season. I always seek to surprise myself."
There's so much more to forming a collection than sketching and patterns. Refinery29 checked in with British designer Aimee McWilliams to discover all the motivations and inspirations that fueled her latest seasonal turnout.
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