Dauphinette Embraces The "Fragile" With SS23 Collection
Featuring dresses crafted from real eggshells and 19th century porcelain plates.
Situated in an intimate church, opened up by stunning stain-glasses windows, 20-something-year-old founder Olivia Cheng looked to the simple element, as well as 19th-century porcelain plates and vintage spoons to imbue her latest creation with a sense of preciousness as well as strength. Positioned as art work on display in a museum, the collection encourages reverence and savoring the visual feast. Speaking with Hypebae in an exclusive interview, Cheng shares, “I approached this collection as a moment to pause, reflect and explore what I’ve learned as a designer and person over this period of time. In the fashion industry, there is a lot of pressure towards velocity and high-volume production. It has been incredibly special to truly sit with every single look and focus more on each look as a sculpture. Every look has a plaque to explain its process.”
Fashioning suits and armor out of such delicate items, Dauphinette’s SS23 collection exalts the mundane and subverts our notions and beliefs about everyday things, as she continues, “I was really drawn to the idea of bringing all these quotidian daily aspects together, these aspects of our lives that have remained pretty constant, independent of time and seasonality or our development as a society and industrialization over the past century.”
A skirt tenderly crafted from four hundred real eggshells commands attention and strength with immortalized religious figures as its backdrop — it’s impossible not to see Cheng’s response to our current socio-political climate as the inspiration for her collection. Life’s essence is on open display in a sometimes repressive setting. “While it wasn’t my intention at the outset to primarily work with precious materials, “Fragile” is a reflection of my state of mind at the time we were creating and developing it. A lot of the items I gravitated towards are delicate and precious in nature. For instance, we used a variety of eggs from chickens, quails, emus and robins.” Returning to the domestic sphere as an independent female designer speaks to Cheng’s own subtle power as she masterfully weaves past and present through her truly dynamic garments.
Cheng merges quirky design elements like croissant and baguette handbags blend in seamlessly alongside midriff-baring voluminous mini dresses that bear a silhouette reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland. Household kitchen items find themselves encased in clear vinyl, while purple and yellow feathers create a fanciful top and is paired with a multi-layered wooden skirt. Handcrafting the collection’s key piece remains a priority for the young fashion visionary as she hand-sewed one menswear-inspired suit with over 12,000 vintage mother of pearl buttons over the course of two months.
Exploring art, as well as her own fragility, Cheng’s dedication to her craft and inimitable creativity separates her from the pack as her home-grown approach naturally resists hyper-commercialization.
Take a look at Dauphinette’s SS23 collection, “Fragile” in the gallery above.