Quinten Mestdagh from the Royal Academy Of Fine Arts Antwerp has a great talent, his garments are spectacular and complex. They reflect our modern obsession for messages and personality. This strong and colorful collection was inspired by ripped up publicity panels and a love for fashion photography and strong graphic identity.
For you to get to know him better we asked Mestgagh a few questions:
How did you start this project?
I wanted to work around the concept that showed the power and strength of fashion photography and fashion imagery.
I’ve always been attracted to highly stylized and iconic fashion images in magazines and advertisements and they were the main inspiration for starting the collection.
During a walk trough the Paris metro stations I came across an advertisement from the department store les Galleries Lafayette. On the advertisement there were two models shown who were wearing very skinny trousers.Right from the waist up the poster was ripped off and the silhouette of the long legs continued into the rips of the paper. It created a new and abstract kind of silhouette and it was the main inspiration for the shapes and the graphic identity of the collection.By seeing these ripped advertisements I started to get interested into how you can create, by an act of aggression on a beautiful picture, a kind of tension or disruption on an image.
I started with making collages and 3d paper compositions myself with Images found in the archive of the MOMU library in Antwerp. Glossy pictures of woman’s faces are disrupted by paper rips and shreds resembling the damaged advertisements creating a tension and roughness in contrast with the beauty showcased in fashion photography.
Afterwards I made blow-ups of these prints and started to think how I would translate them to into 3-Dimensional garments.
Can you tell us more about the shapes?
For the shapes of the clothing I looked to the clean and architectural volumes of midcentury couture gowns.
They had and elegance but also a kind of static and strong feeling that worked really well together with the impact of the prints.
I used trompe l’oeil effects by printing the paper collages on different fabrics and reinforcing them with stiff non woven and paper.So it has the effect and lightness of paper but the fabrics have enough stiffness and structure to hold the shapes.I also worked with pleating systems in full skirts where the two pictures are fused together to recreate the feeling of rotating billboards.
How would you describe yourself: as an artist / as a fashion designer / as a graphic designer …?
I tend to work almost always in a very graphical and visual way when I start designing.
I am really interested in the power of image and graphics and it is something that I always try to incorporate in my work.
It is really important to me that the core of my work always starts from a reference that is directly linked to fashion.
Working with contrasts and juxtapositions is a theme that always comes back in my work and I always try to find a way to visualize that.
What fascinates you so much about photography?
In fashion photography its always the direct impact and beauty of an image that strikes me the most.
Your work is very strong also by the way you use colour, what is your relation to colour ?
I really like to mix very bright and hard colors with other colors that are more soft or calm.
It’s always about finding a contrast between them to get that graphic feeling.
I like to work with colors on images that it looks like there has been a filter placed over them and everything gets saturated into one bright glow.
Is your design process always the same ?
It always starts with a lot of visual references who I then place next to each other to create a dialogue or a contradiction between them.
For me this process is a lot of fun because it’s really here where the collection starts to come together as a whole.
From here on I then start to think how these images can be translated into shapes and how they can become a three-dimensional fashion silhouette.
How do you see yourself in the future?
I Hope that one day I will end up in a place or a position where I can continue to work with fashion in the same way that I am doing it and how I am enjoying it now.
Photography: Michael Smits
Make-up: Laura Noben and Cecile Paravina
Model: Luka Van der Veken