If you’re not one to indulge in springtime brights, upcoming label A Tentative Atelier is perfect for neutralising S/S 13’s high impact shades. With a darkly melancholic debut collection, founders Pauline Y and Nam T offer a distinct alternative to summer dressing. For Gabriela Coteanu, owner of Entrance in Bucharest, Romania, this rebellious aesthetic is the perfect fit for her store. ‘It was love at first sight’ she explains. ‘It’s really bold to make a summer collection in all black, white, beige and blood red, when everybody is experimenting with much brighter tones.’
Keen to explore emotive narratives, Pauline Y and Nam T base their S/S 13 collection on the gruelling journey of an old man at war. Nam T explains, ‘We imagine the collection from his old diary. The pictures and clothes are implicated in his memory.’ Speaking to Gabriela about this aesthetic, she says, ‘that’s what Entrance is about: we look at clothes as tangible stories. Sometimes it’s the wearer’s story, sometimes it is the designer’s story, but most of the time it’s a delightful mix between the two.’
This season’s collection is the striking scar of a violent story. Nam T explains, ‘When I get a strong image from a photo of a man struggling, I start to imitate this image onto leather’. Eerie lambskin outlines of human heads and hands are appliquéd onto portfolio bags and elegant dresses. Handcrafted chunky knit dresses are armour-like, flared skirts are a deep blood red and leather panels and draped embellishments are raw and frayed. The collection balances classic shapes of tailored blazers and long pleated skirts against surrealist embellishments. Gabriela praises this juxtaposition - ‘I love their bold take on fashion and timeless design.’
With so many distinctive pieces Gabriela is hard pressed to find one favourite. ‘It’s hard to play favourites with a collection like this, but if we had to, it would be the leather portfolio bag with the face imprinted on the back. We believe it is their stand out piece.’
With an exciting future and an original aesthetic, we cannot wait for the next story of A Tentative Atelier to be told.
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