Monday, June 11, 2007

Deconstructing Shelly Steffee

I chanced upon this online store on the Lucky Magazine website and I must say, I am loving the clothes there. Very very quietly elegant and quietly cool. The subtly appeals much to me. And among many wonderful labels available on the site, one stands out in particular---Shelly Steffee. Now I am usually not fond of post-modernism anything and by extension, with deconstruction taken to denote the application of post-modernism, deconstruction antying e.g. deconstructivist views in history, deconstructive architecture, deconstructive literature and definitely not deconstructive clothes (you know, those done mainly by Japanese designers that look like oragami and are as difficult to wear.)

And yet, upon first laying eyes on her pieces, I found myself inexplicably drawn to them. I put it down to her ability to balance deconstruction with feminity and elegance such that her pieces have this cool confidence without coming across as trying too hard to show creativity.
Take this top for instance.

It is like wearing a piece of architecture---deconstructivist details make it unique---but the black colour and the clever proportions of the details, together with the belt to anchor the piece, makes it just the perfect blend of arty cool and elegant. It's versatility is also a plus as it could be easily dressed down with short, or dressed up with flowy dress pants or a pencil skirt. It could even be paired with dark cropped denim for a more casual look.

I also like this conceptualist pink top of hers.

This is how the blue version looks on the mannequin (the website didn't have a picture of how the pink one looked when worn).

I prefer the pink one though. Isn't the way it drapes just beautiful?

This top is also very deconstructural. But the zip and the tie at the waist prevent it from coming across as messy.

Then there are the trousers she creates. Like this pair of shorts.

Again a great combination of quiet and cool. The dark slate colour makes it elegant while there is just enough detailing (not overdone) to make it unique.
Likewise for this pair of jodphurs.

My hats off to anyone who can make jodphurs look cool. I would pair this with a white tank and metallic sneakers. Maybe one from Hogan.
Then there are her outerwear pieces.
This is the perfect piece to take along on the plane (for distracting from crumpled clothes). It speaks city sleek without being too minimalistic. Again her fine ability to balance between elegant and unique makes this piece a must have.
Then there's this sweater.
Granted it's not as outstanding as the jacket above, I still like it for its slouchy vibe. And with most slouchy things, it looks really comfortable.
Finally there are her dresses. Again architectural, conceptual, deconstructionist are words that come to mind. Just that this time, unlike most pieces with such adjectives given to them, Shelly's pieces look really wearable as well.

Again belts are used to anchor the piece to prevent it from looking too chaotic, messy or haphazard.

This is how the dress on the top right looks when worn on the model. For those digging the futuristic look of the spring summer 2007 catwalk, this is just the piece to get. And it isn't doesnt look too futuristic that can't be worn once the trend is over.
Really, Shelly Steffee has sparked my interest in oragami, architectural pieces of clothing. Here ability to balance between edgy and creative with elegant and wearable is just astounding, never once crossing the fine line between cool and pretentious.
Now if only there were more such designers out there.
Photographs from:

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