Designers Shone Puipia and Raphäele Lenseigne both went for the jugular at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp: Fashion Department aka the Antwerp Fashion Academy 's 'SHOW2016'. Puipia presented one of our favourite 2016 graduate collections with a dreamscape of women revealing their wild side, while Lenseigne draped her models in streaked patchwork armours and gave us her strong ‘Get Mad’ silhouettes. What stood out in their collections was the stellar footwear, created by two different minds but somehow cohesive. So they went for the bold move and co-founded footwear (for now) label ‘Adult.’. They describe the brand as making ‘shoes for women who embody various characters in their lives.’ Their first collection of boots constructed from original materials such as eel and acryl is now up for preorder, the lookbook is ace and it’s time to see what’s good with these two grown fashion newbies.(above image: Shone Puipia & Raphaële Lenseigne by Lee Wei Swee)
KNOTORYUS: Why did you decide to start a line together?
We have been very close friends since we met in the first year at the Academy. We have been looking to each other for advice and opinions ever since. Last year we each designed shoes individually for our respective collections - Shone's knee-high cowboy boots and Raphaële's platform ankle boots with the flower heels. We both received positive feedback for them and just thought "why not?" Although they are quite different from each other, there is this common sleekness and that touch of eccentricity in both designs that we decided to bring them together to start a new conversation about the Adult. woman.
KNOTORYUS: Raphaële, your 3BA collection was titled ‘Get Mad’ and featured bold footwear designs. What zone do you go into when you’re designing?
"Get Mad" was initially a reference to the 1994 movie "Natural Born Killers" -one of the references of my 3BA collection. It’s an injunction given by Mickey Knox to Mallory before they leave the prison, and it sounds almost like a motivational phrase between them. I was interested in the idea that getting mad can be considered necessary for a positive outcome. I was not literally mad when designing, but it’s this energy that powered these strong shapes.
KNOTORYUS: Shone, when we last spoke for Mirror Mirror On The Wall magazine, you mentioned how a trip to New York triggered inspiration for your graduate collection. What were you watching, listening to or taking in when this first Adult. collection was being created?
The collection was put together very spontaneously. We each looked at our collections’ shoes from the previous year and chose designs that could speak to each other, pulling them all together through a common colour scheme of black, red, blue, and white – primary but very impactful colours to make a first statement for the brand.
KNOTORYUS: Did the Antwerp Fashion Academy change your perspective on what footwear can look like and how?
The Academy really allowed us to experiment with footwear and challenge traditional ways of making shoes, whether working with new, unexpected materials or proportions. However, I think we both still appreciate the fact that shoes should still give a flattering shape to the foot and legs. Beautiful lines that create desire.
KNOTORYUS: The flowers encased in the heels reminded us of these 70s Perspex paperweights one of our grandmothers used to have, what’s the story behind that design?
It’s funny that you should say that because I did use the first prototype -a bulkier version- as a paperweight for my patterns afterwards. But at first it was a reference to the works of Japanese florist and artist Azuma Makoto.
KNOTORYUS: Why did you choose to work with Lee Wei Swee and Cécile Paravina for the lookbook?
We both have been working with Lee Wei on several projects over the past three years, and we understand each other’s vision very well. We started talking about ideas for the campaign when we were having dinner together, and it just came to us to do this diptych of the over- and under-table scene showing the personalities of the different cast members. We casted our friends who have a personality that embodies what Adult. stands for, rather than going for mainstream model types. Cécile has a good eye and feel for make-up and she can interpret the atmosphere in her work very well.
KNOTORYUS: What are your hopes for Adult. in 2017?
We’re taking it one step at a time, but at the moment we are working on the second collection, which we plan to release in September 2017. We hope to expand into men’s shoes and other accessories as well, and even include clothing, later on in the future.'Collection 1' by Adult. is available for preorder (until January 17th, 2017) here.
All images by Lee Wei Swee
Make-up: Cécile Paravina
Models: Brandon Wen, Charlotte, Alexia and Didu