Malta landscapes make it to the catwalk
Every piece looks like it came out of some boho boutique in Camden, but in reality there’s nothing of the Brit and everything of the Maltese in this fashion collection by artists-turned-designers Angelique Attard and Charlene Muscat.
Angelique and Charlene, 28 and 29 years old respectively, are the brains behind Creativefactory7, a design house that effectively takes art to the catwalk.
Their latest collection, which was premiered at this year’s Malta Fashion Awards, showcases some of Malta’s most-loved landmarks by translating a series of digital prints onto plain fabric, effectively turning the duo’s sketches into wearableart pieces.
The collection includes six pieces. One dress, in vivid blue hues, sports the Valletta skyline on its front with the unmistakeable dome of the Carmelite church in sharp focus.
Another piece features the distinctive tower in Riviera Bay, adorned with shore pebbles. Even the ubiquitous prickly pear plants and garigue walls make an appearance on other designs.
“We started shooting in February, visiting those places we find most inspiring, and by the end we had over 200 photos to choose from. We chose the best elements and combined them into various collages, after which we then went about the process of choosing the plain fabrics,” Angelique said.
Not as simple a process as you might think, given that thefabric inevitably affects theclarity and vividness of the images being reproduced.
To ensure the best result, the designers had every single collage test-printed on sample swatches. Only when they were truly satisfied was the choice of fabric finalised.
“The next step involved finding a printer with the equipment and knowledge necessary for work on big swatches of fabric. Although the actual technique of printing digital images on fabric is a commonone on a small scale, when you’re after high-quality, detailed visuals on a large scale, the techniquedoes not always work perfectly,” Charlene explained.
Luckily, in this case it did. The printed fabric was then takento tailor Gaetano Deguara totransform the duo’s designs into wearable pieces.
“This was one of the biggest challenges. Ideas are not lacking, but turning them into actual clothing is far from easy. Every single landscape had to fit precisely within the limited parameters of our initial design. Thankfully Gaetano succeeded,” Angelique said.
This is not the duo’s first shot at creating wearable art.Creativefactory7 first shot to fame during Miss Bikini World 2009, when Angelique andCharlene came up with a live ‘painting on fabric’ sessionon stage concurrently with the catwalk shows.
The freestyle session yielded a particularly colourful design which the girls then draped around one of the models, creating a unique piece with which to close the show.
“This spurred us into designinga whole collection based aroundthis concept. In a way, the first collection was simpler to achieve because we painted straight onto the plain fabric after the pieces were actually sewn.
“There were no precise parameters to keep to and we could see the result unfolding in front of our eyes, allowing us to follow our inspiration spontaneously,” Charlene said.
The two designers view this venture as their way of bringing art to fashion, their ambition ever since their days as arts students.
A third collection is already inthe works; once again, the idea isto start off with a creative photoshoot, although the theme is yet to be decided.
“Reactions to this style of design have been extremely encouraging and we’re looking forward to further experimentation. More than a commercial endeavour, this is a way to encourage a uniquely artistic approach even when we’re talking fashion design,” Angelique said.