When you meet Stella Jean, you’re immediately struck by her energy, intellect and integrity. Her designs a vibrant blend of patterns, shapes and colours—are equally mesmerizing. The former model turned designer is known for her clever—and often ironic—blending of stylistic, cultural and social references.
“Fashion is the most authentic way for me to express and resolve some of the inadequacies I felt being part of a multiracial family in Italy in the ’80s,” she explained during her visit to Toronto earlier this year.
“It was hard for me to find an identity, but fashion gave me space to manoeuvre and find a place where my cultures—Haitian and Italian—could coexist. If we can mix style elements from different cultures with good results, we can definitely embrace this juxtaposition of cultures in real life.”
Printed cotton skirt ($750, stellajean.it)
For her spring/summer 2015 col- lection, Italian designer Stella Jean stylishly blended her Haitian heritage with her mid-century sensibilities.
“I’m inspired by silhouettes from the ’50s. I take typical shapes from that era and conjugate them with wax design motif textiles that are symbolic of my Haitian roots.”
“The secret to mixing and wearing different patterns is to let your style be guided by a sense of curiosity, experimentation and audacity with a pinch of irony.”
“The print is inspired by art naïf paintings that depict typical villages and colours from the amazing Haiti. The art is meant to express the life, nature and spirit of these proud women in their market.”
“Haiti is such an incredible country and not just for its colours and prints. The people have an unconditional love for the arts and a pride of their history. If you go to Haiti, you will fall in love and you will leave with tears in your eyes.”
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