A sit down with designer Leonie Smelt

A sit down with designer Leonie Smelt

Feb 2, 2012 |  by  |  Fashion
About the author
Born and raised in Amsterdam, lives to dance and dances to live on electronic music, has a small vinyl addiction, appreciates a little sarcasm now and then, thinks musicals are annoying and loves those moments where you lose track of time completely.

Fashion Week ended last week but that doesn’t mean fashion in Amsterdam stops. On the contrary, this Tuesday evening Leonie Smelt presented her first independent collection, Perfect Darkness, on the top floor of De Waag. The vibe was cosy and intimate unlike Fashion Week’s intense atmosphere. Smelt’s work consists mainly out of black and metallic bronze with a lot of rectangular shapes and forms.

Perfect Darkness

The collection is named after a Fink song which described her feeling and collection perfectly. A strong desire or dream that you can only feel when you close your eyes. What you see, think, or feel in mind is limitless and therefore the only way to come close to perfection. The collection represents contradiction, stratification, embezzlement, eternal desire, and striving for perfection. Sounds pretty deep to me. I got the chance to sit down with Leonie (who sympathetically wore an outfit by the H&M because she could never design something for herself) and ask her for some clarification.

What was your inspiration for the collection?
“I’m very inspired by architecture but also shapes that I develop myself. Maybe this sounds weird, that I’m inspired by myself. I love the process of first starting flat; to fold shapes with paper. And then to transform to these to the round shapes of a body. I’m very inspired by the different researches that arise when I use different materials and shapes.”

What’s your favourite piece in the collection and why?
“My favourite piece is the second one on the left (in the picture above), I think. I did not plan my entire collection, it just grew while I was working at it. This was the final piece I made and everything came together, and made the collection a whole.” This collection is different from her earlier work, which is in the colours: “The colour is different, in my previous work I used lighter colours whereas in this collection black takes over. I’m not a big fan of colour anyway. I usually go for black, white, metallic or attenuated colours.”

Last week was fashion week, who was your favourite designer?
“To be honest, Fashion Week kind of passed me by. I was so busy with my own collection and preparations. I loved Winde Rienstra her shoes though! I’ll catch up next week.”

Who are the other contemporary designers that you love?
“I absolutely adore Iris van Herpen, where I took an internship. She’s great and I love her personality. I don’t really get involved with other designers and trends actually. I like to keep true to myself and my own style, I’m on this big cloud. This reduces a lot of stress. Honestly, I avoided fashion week this week.”

Why did you choose the Waag as your location for your presentation?
“I chose De Waag in collaboration with winterSALON/. Like I said I love architecture, and I just think the history of De Waag is great. My collection is pretty futuristic and the historic Waag gives it a nice contrast.”

Can you give our readers a tip to go to in Amsterdam?
“I just got the key to my new apartment, so I don’t actually live here yet. I’m originally from Enschede. I like De Magere Brug, because it’s run by people from the east. Me and my friends go there a lot. I think it’s hard to give a tip that nobody has ever heard of before. I’m going to live close to the Bijlmer, where Pand 14 is located.”

Her final advice to young starting designers “Stay true to yourself! And most of all be daring and innovative.”

Photography by Faye Lui.

Sharing is caring!