Edeline Lee is renowned for how her creative vision blends feminism with fashion, and her latest designs exemplify her empowering brand identity. The key source of inspiration for her AW19 collection was Professor Mary Beard’s seminal text Women & Power, which discusses both the female public voice and cultural assumptions of women’s relationships with power.
During Lee’s London Fashion Week presentation, the idea was that the clothes were showcased during a two hour endless loop of women’s voices, rendering the garments secondary against the premier focus on femininity. After being introduced by a model in the AW19 garment, one woman would grace the stage in an all black outfit and tell her personal story. This format is in direct response to Lee’s opinion that fashion is “an arena where women are always seen, seldom heard”. The simplistic set-up of the showcase meant that, as well as the clothes supporting rather than leading the performance, the spectators were also required to listen to what the female had to say, immediately translating any power from the audience to the speaker herself.
The thirty-five women selected to tell their stories came from a plethora of different personal experiences and perspectives, yet they were all united in their action to raise their voices and be heard as individuals during the presentation. Their fascinating backgrounds covered a spectrum of professions, including Dame Mary Beard herself, fashion journalist and editor Hilary Alexander OBE, Church of England priest Reverend Christina Beardsley as well as several other politicians, charity workers, musicians and actors.
“I design for the Future Lady – a muse that I invented to represent what dignity, grace, femininity and power look like on a woman of the contemporary world. Fashion is always aspirational. In today’s world, what do we aspire to?” – Edeline Lee
The clothes themselves were typically Edeline, striking that perfect balance between sophisticated and youthful. Using her trademark fabrics of Flou Bubble Jacquard and Georgette Crinkle, the colour palette contributes to Lee’s instantly recognisable designs by maintaining a well-practiced blend of creamy beige, dusky rose, bottle green and petrol blue.
The silhouettes were simple yet incredibly flattering and the addition of ruffled hemlines and asymmetry subtly contorted what would be considered a conventional female form. The notion of disturbing and remodifying classic femininity through fashion can simply be reflected in how Lee took a traditional floral print and made it abstract and three-dimensional. As we all know, there are are much, much more to women than meets the eye, and Lee’s genius craft reflects this. Her garments may seem ultra-feminine, but when you look up close, they are deceptive, featuring unexpected techniques that subvert expectations of women’s fashion.
What are your thoughts on Edeline Lee’s AW19 collection? We’d love to hear in the comments below.
Text: Natalie Zannikos
Images: Benjamin Tietge