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It has been a while since Pauline van Dongen presented a fashion collection in her own name but is fashion really what her brand is about? The Spring/Summer 2014 collection Oloid tells the story of geometry; fluid lines and solid volumes. 

By Cassandra Pizzey /asdf 17-10-2013

It’s not as if Dutch fashion designer Pauline van Dongen hasn’t been busy for the past few years (her last fashion collection was for S/S 2012), the focus just wasn’t on her own collections. Workshops, innovation and knowledge were how the talented designer filled the past year, resulting in such projects as Wearable Solar.

The S/S 2014 collection Oloid was presented in Amsterdam last week, we asked the designer about this story of volume and line.

You are once again working with beautiful, if a little unusual, materials in this collection, can you tell us about your choice for these materials and how they embody the feeling of this collection?

My collection Oloid is inspired by geometry. As measurement of space, geometry is concerned with questions of shape, size, proportions and relative position of objects. It can be seen as a symbol for the way we use technology to construct our surroundings. It is something we continuously build upon and exists by way of people. This idea is translated into solid volumes and curved lines, fluid silk is intersected by leather panels and laser engraved neoprene synthesizes hyperbolic surfaces.”

You said about your last project 'Wearable Solar' that wearability always comes before technology. How have you kept your latest designs wearable yet combined your message of 'mimesis'?

With my work I aim to infuse fashion with technology in a truly wearable way. By doing so I want to move beyond the realm of gadgets. All my work stems from a study of the space between the body and the garment, while shaping this void I create space for a bodily expression. This approach is resulting in wearability, at the same time raising the awareness of our bodies being situated within the contemporary liquid surroundings.”

Did you use any new (to you) techniques in this collection?

For this collection I’ve woven electrical cable through leather, formulating an aesthetic of technology. Also I’ve been exploring the use of neoprene by laser engraving it.”

This year has seen numerous collaborations (Wool Diaries, Wearable Solar), is there someone or some institution you would love to work with in the future?

Yes, of course. I’m always looking out for interesting collaborations with companies in the field of science and technology and for designers, developers or engineers. The fact that I’ve just started my PhD at TU/Eindhoven will enable me to do even more so, since partners like Freedom Of Creation, Xsens and the Textile Museum are involved in the collaborative research.”

You don't stick to conventional twice yearly fashion shows and present you collections outside of the fashion weeks. What role would you say you play in the fashion scene?

My work is not trend based and I feel it could also transcend seasons. I stand for high quality materials combined with design that is atemporal. By combining new technologies with traditional techniques I aim to constantly renovate craftsmanship. By presenting one collection a year I create the time and space to research new materials and to acquire new technologies, which can be incorporated into my collection when they are ready for it.”

Could you tell us about your work process, how did you get from your previous collection to here?

My work has always been influenced by science and in particular by the perception of space and its interaction with the body: my graduation collection in 2010, Morphogenesis, was already characterized by the so defined ‘Void’ to be intended as space between the body and the garment, which I translate into a stylistic approach.

Different declinations of space perception brought me again to consider the representation of our surroundings in my last collection Oloid s/s 2014. This consideration of space and external stimuli together with the current possibilities to renovate craftsmanship through the use of technology had spontaneously led my work to evolve from scientific creations to wearable technology.”

Image credits
Photography: Mike Nicolaassen
Hair & Make-up: Angelique Stapelbroek
Model: Julia J. at Fresh Model Management

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