Dancing in white

The London-based couturier David Fielden and thirty five years of activity

15 APRIL 2016

A very fine white sand, the same of the most pristine beaches, welcomed the guests to the bridal wear catwalk show by the British couturier David Fielden at Superstudiopiù in Milan. A vast swimming pool in the middle of the room was lit by hundreds of candles floating and dancing on the water, creating a truly rarefied atmosphere. The designer celebrated thirty-five years in business with a special, important collection that most certainly did not disappoint any expectation. Ethereal models with tribal hairstyles walked in a fast-paced succession of jubilant explosions of veils, lace, impalpable silk as the excitement and curiosity increased by the moment. We were taken into an imaginative world that reminded us of London. And yet Africa was definitely in the air as every detail suggested a ‘Global Journey’, as the new collection is aptly titled. Crackling fires started from some candles left unlit during the show with sparks that reached the ceiling and a thunderous applause erupted before the lights went out. This was the perfect time to get to know the creative person behind the catwalk show and the collection. David Fielden is a very private person and yet emotions clearly emerged on his face, as this was his very first show. Backstage, many shook his hand and complimented him as he looked at me with a sincerely shy look and asked me "Did you enjoy?" as if we knew each other for ages, as if he needed to be reassured. I replied that the show was beautiful. We exchanged a kiss.

What is the link between your passion for ballet and the one for fashion?

The link is music and all that is able to convey on an emotional level. Music stimulates my imagination and is the common thread of my fashion shows, advertising campaigns, short films, as in the last collection. The sources of inspiration were the Ballets Russe and the Bloomsbury Set in Britain, two transition moments from the nineteenth into the twentieth century. The first is one of the most famous ballet companies, the second comprised of intellectuals, including Virginia Woolf, active in different fields of art, art criticism, teaching. My imagination transformed these stimuli into a magical garden, professional ballet dancers took part in the fashion show, the red velvet proscenium curtains were a clear reminder of the theatre. The harmony came from the music, from Kate Bush to ‘Facade’, the best work by the English composer William Walton, and the classic notes of ‘The Firebird’ by Igor Stravinsky. The advertising campaign was based on the combination of two images, the ghost figure of a dancer and the model who lived the exciting encounter with the evanescent dancer.

You were a ballet dancer: how did your adventure as fashion designer start?

I studied theatrical design, then I attended the prestigious Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance where I worked as a choreographer for shows that won international awards. As my interests have always been varied, I started collecting and selling vintage clothing and to reuse antique lace to make clothes: it all started like that.

What inspires your wedding dresses? More specifically, what inspired the latest collection?

My 2016 bridal collection is inspired by a trip to various continents, with a special focus on Africa and tribal textiles produced by artisans using original ancient techniques.

What is the role of haute couture craftsmanship and sartorial techniques when creating your pieces?

The study of details and fabrics plays a fundamental role in my collections. Each dress must be exciting for the wearer and often I reach this goal thanks to the textures of the raw materials that I choose.

Your Maison is celebrating thirty-five years: how do you feel? Have you achieved the goals you set for himself?

I always put creativity at the forefront of my goals. I believe that a successful Maison is always evolving, striving for perfection collection after collection, determined to do better and better. Have I reached my goals? I can say that I reached an enviable position that allows me to fearlessly challenge the preconceptions related to bridal wear. I would like to challenge the stereotypes and propose new solutions and ideas for the new brides to be: I would like them to be modern and always different and to follow the haute couture dictates that change season after season.

Where are your collections sold?

We sell all over the world, particularly well in Italy, and we have a growing market in the Far East.

What are your plans for the future?

To stay true to the aesthetics of the Maison and to try and bridge the gap between haute couture and bridal fashion. I think there are clients who wants to wear clothes that are the result of an evolution of style. Haute couture changes constantly whereas wedding dresses are often dated and only relate to the past.

Text by Clelia Zanni

In collaboration with the fashion magazines, Collezioni: www.collezioni.info