Designer Gregory Nicholas launched his label some time ago and his first collection entitled Ophelia is full of prints. We met him at his atelier in London, shot some details of the garments focusing on the fabrics and discussed with Gregory about his views on fashion and textiles at the moment.
Your work has a romantic sense, yet you chose a dark aesthetic for your first collection.
I have always been drawn to John Everett Millet's painting of Ophelia. The painting captures a great sense of romanticism of the Pre-Raphaelite vision and indeed a sense of darkness in her drowning. It was the combination of these two ideas that led me to explore the concept of her physical decay, hence the dark aesthetic and the distressed, eroded looking prints of the collection. The underlaying element of death is shown within the Millet's painting not only in her drowning but with the use of floral elements which reflects victorian interest of the time in the language of flowers as the poppy's pictured represented sleep and death.
Tell us about the prints you make and the procedure you follow when making them.
All of them are originally made by hand on smaller pieces of fabric. I love to play around with hand dyes, inks and discharging techniques to create quite organic and fluid prints. The larger skirts in the collection where individually dyed and distressed by hand and there was 40 meters in total that had to be dyed and worked upon! The prints that featured on the more body con pieces of the collection again originated from hand made samples that were scanned and digitally reworked to create a soft repeat across the fabric. Finally the leather garments were all hand produced using a method of bleach distressing.