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Vancouver Fashion Week: Behind the scenes with Connally McDougall
Connally McDougall marks her return to Canada with a sexy new collection, presented this week at Vancouver Fashion Week. The Canadian designer who just returned to her hometown this month after graduating from London’s prestigious Central Saint Martins, sat down with me to share her story.
Get to know Connally McDougall after the jump …
When did you know you wanted to become a fashion designer? I feel like I should have known I was a fashion designer way earlier because as a little girl I wanted to change my clothes six or seven times a day.
What was the first piece you created? It was a golden yellow dress that had pleats up at the shoulders. It fell down in a maxi shape and had lots of my trademark beadwork on it. A woman bought it from the boutique I was working at but I wasn’t even working that day someone else sold it! Later that night I got a text from my mom saying the woman wearing the dress was at the same wedding she was at. My mom took paparazzi photos. It was a dork-out moment.
What inspired this season’s collection? It was largely inspired by the Gustav Klimt painting Wasserschlangen I. It’s very kaleidoscopic. It’s emotional and strong at the same time.
There was a lot of velvet in the collection. Why is that? It’s such a sumptuous fabric. Devoré fabric flows next to the body as opposed to the stiff velvet skirts that we wore in 1982. It’s a blast form the past. Plus, it’s a beautiful fabric to wear and work with especially in Canadian climates where you need something warm but functional and stylish.
Who are your design influences? Elsa Schiaparelli is one of my favourites. She’s an Italian designer who was designing around the same time as Coco Chanel, but she was working with surrealist artists like Salvador Dalí and Man Ray, and working from opposites ends from what Chanel was doing. I also love Miuccia Prada, she’s innovative and not afraid to make something ugly pretty.
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