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Edeline Lee by Sabine Le Marchand
Edeline Lee by Sabine Le Marchand
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In The Neighbourhood: Designer Edeline Lee On Her London Fashion Week SS17 Collection

Picture of India Doyle
Updated: 19 September 2016
A certified designer to watch, Edeline Lee made her London Fashion Week debut in Spring / Summer 2016 with a playful, pastel coloured collection of geometric silhouettes. Worn by celebrities including Alicia Vikander, Taylor Swift and Solange Knowles, Lee is a two-time finalist for the Samsung Fashion & Design Fund and currently nominated for Breakthrough Womenswear Designer of the Year at the WGSN Fashion Futures Awards. As part of our ‘Behind The Seams’ series, we find out how the designer prepares for London Fashion Week.

You’re Canadian born and London based, where do your aesthetic sensibilities lie?

My aesthetic sensibilities developed in my fantasies and dreams. My formative years were in Canada where I was surrounded less by man-made beauty, and more by a truly majestic nature. I spent my childhood exploring forests, learning wilderness survival tactics, building forts, collecting butterflies and nurturing tadpoles.

You started with an “unintentional soft launch”, what happened?

A jeweller friend of mine, Cora Sheibani, commissioned me to develop a capsule collection on which to display her work. Our presentation was written up in Vogue and women wanted to buy the dresses. I made some more clothes with the money that I made, and eventually, I had a brand.

Edeline Lee inspiration SS17
Edeline Lee inspiration SS17

Proportion and composition are central to your work, how did you develop the look of the brand?

I first started exploring these concepts in black and white and then gradually introduced colour along the way. Usually the happier I am, the more colourful it gets. The clothes are more interesting up close than in photographs.

Generally speaking, who are you influenced and inspired by?

I find my first concept emotionally as I explore the people, places and things I see around me. I know that I’m going in the right direction when I feel a little hook in my gut. Whatever it is, I need to be interested and obsessed with the concept for at least six months, it can’t be a fleeting fancy.

Edeline Lee inspiration SS17
Edeline Lee inspiration SS17

Who is the perfect Edeline Lee girl?

I don’t have a specific muse, but I’m always thinking of my girlfriends, my clients and what the clothes feel like when they’re on. I’m thinking of what women need right now in their hectic, collaged lives. I’m thinking of Everywoman. Women’s roles are shifting dramatically in our lifetime. Women now are more beautiful, more powerful, more free, more aware and more capable than any other time in history. I’m thinking ‘how does the Future Woman dress?’

A lot of people now talk about the pace of the industry, what are your views on the speed with which collections have to be produced now?

I don’t think women care anymore what season an item belongs to. Seasons are a way for a designer to expose their idea, viewpoint or inspiration. I think it’s important as a designer to present the bigger picture, the whole concept for a collection at one time. If a woman supports or feels intrigued or inspired by the idea, she may want to wear the designer’s clothes. But when it comes to buying a piece of clothing, I hope she will buy the one that suits and fits her best in the end. I am interested in seeing how the system develops and changes in response to the different needs of the post-internet generation.

Edeline Lee inspiration SS17
Edeline Lee inspiration SS17

Talk me through day in the life of a designer three weeks before a collection?

The collection is all-consuming at that point, the soundtrack of the season is on repeat, I’m seeing the clothes that have been in my mind come into reality, watching them come to life on peoples’ bodies. We are on a deadline so each decision is a final decision. Your mind has to be sharp to not let something pass by that you will regret later on. I’m wearing a uniform, a rotating selection of comfortable clothes and I’m eating mostly what people put in front of me.

Edeline Lee inspiration SS17
Edeline Lee inspiration SS17

What about three hours before a collection?

It’s just execution. Everyone knows what they are doing. There’s always a fire or two to put out, but somehow it all comes together in a blink of an eye.

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