By Isabella Redmond Styles
POSTED March 9, 2011
Steffie Christiaens Debut Runway Collection
Was, Quite Literally, a Baptism of Fire -
And, Q+A Loved Every Hot Minute of It
Steffie Christiaens debut runway show was, quite literally, a baptism of fire. Her debut collection experimented with fabrics that had been scorched and melted. This designer to watch
opted for a color palette of charcoal, ash and cobalt blue, which was designed to replicate the stages of burning, cobalt symbolizing the innermost part of the flame. Her avant-garde
approach to fabric warranted equally directional silhouettes, from a funnel neck zip up jacket in nubuck python skin to an expertly crafted knitted blue mesh dress and mini dress in
three-dimensional silk gazar. All paid testament to Christiaen’s intricate skill but also demanded a Gaga-like confidence to wear.
Nevertheless, Christiaen’s color palette did allow her to produce pieces for the more conventional dresser. The nubuck python cape in python skin with an astrakhan panel at the back might
have PETA up in arms, but it was understated and elegant. Likewise, a round-collared black mesh minidress split twice at the neck and a sweater in dazzling blue cashmere, were
imaginative interpretations of classic, wear-forever pieces.
The Paris-based Dutch designer subverted traditional blazers and shirts with cutout details and sent double-layered trousers down the runway. The trousers overlaid from the waist with felt
cotton certainly achieved Christiaens’ aim of ‘futuristic elegance balanced by a refreshing softness.’ Although only her first collection, it’s clear that Christiaens has a talent for juggling lots
of fashion balls all at once. In one collection alone, Christiaens worked with unconventional fabrics, contorted couture shapes and made use of fiddly processes that require the highest
level of technical skill. Yet, she showed a collection that was coherent, original and destined to turn heads.