3: RENEE Le HUNT
There's nothing more satisfying than seeing a friend find their feet and excel at something you know they really love. I was lucky to be in classes with Renee throughout my time at RMIT and saw her talent bloom during our 2nd year lingerie studio and 3rd year swimwear studio classes. Renee is showing swimwear for 4th year parade and I can honestly say that each individual piece is a beautiful thing - she's pushed herself to master the challenges of patternmaking, sewing and fitting Lycra (no mean feat) and has created a highly resolved, commercially viable and spirited collection.
All photos courtesy Renee Le Hunt
Runway Show 1/2/Exhibition: Runway 2 @ 8:30
Title of Collection (if applicable): Embodied
Menswear/Womenswear/Mixed: Womens Swim
What are some of the inspirations behind this collection? Throughout my design process I experimented with the elements that are used to create a print from an image - reflection, rotation and repetition - which I think comes through in my final outcome. My collection took a very hands on approach and evolved during the production process as I gained stronger technical abilities. Swimwear relies so intrinsically on fit that it's important to to fit the pieces on both the mannequin and the body at every stage of construction, making alterations that lead to a perfect shape.
What features & techniques should we be looking out for? Have you tried anything new? I created a digital print, built from an image I photographed, and have used it in two colour ways. I printed this on Lycra and silk but haven't made any outerwear out of the silk yet! I'm also using a Macrame knotting technique which was developed by experimenting with knots my dad learnt when he was a diver in the Navy. My design is focused on working around the body, considering the look from all angles. Panelling in the swimsuits was informed by this three dimensional view, working with shapes created by the print. I also used placement prints which dictate the shape and size of panels to a degree.
Favourite garment or look in the collection? It chops and changes but at the moment I am most in love with the white print bra and high waisted bikini with triangular cut outs!
How long did it take to make? My capsule collection probably took 2-3 months to toile, fit and produce which included things like getting my fabric printed and maintaining a part-time job (only just!). Each final piece took 2-4 days to produce as cutting and hand work is extremely time consuming. It pays to be a perfectionist when working on swimwear which prolonged the process!
Is your style commercial, avant guard or somewhere in between? This is an interesting question - I don't want to pigeon hole myself into a category because obviously all the fourth years have capabilities in each area. This year I have produced a capsule collection that is commercial to a degree. My swimsuits are all wearable and functional, depending on the wearers main intention - they'd certainly leave more tan lines than a standard bikini! The swimwear I've produced would be considered to be feature pieces in the collection - the ones a label would use for publicity or to create a signature look, but not necessarily the high volume sellers. I think understanding your customer and market gives you a stronger basis for design.
Fashion school is a hard slog, what good/bad/ugly moments will you never forget? Ugly is definitely the word to describe a few of my disasters…In 1st Year Studio we had to make a skirt for assessment and they had this crazy rule that the minute the class ended they would wheel away the rack and if your garment wasn't on it you'd have nothing to show in the assessment. We were under heaps of pressure to finish on time and I was already highly emotional because my dog had just passed away, so I was desperately trying to sew on this stupid waistband on, concentrating so hard to do it perfectly, and I sewed right through my finger! My teacher showed no compassion and I ended up in tears, insistent I'd finish the damn skirt. Looking back on it it was kind of funny and my finger wasn't that bad but I can tell you I never did that again!
Favourite designer, icon or person you want to be when you grow up? There are so many designers I idolise for different reasons but I think the most obvious that reflects in my work would be Nicky Zimmermann from Zimmermann. I feel I have a similar appreciation for things she places importance on in her label. It has an element of classic style and wearability yet is of the time and has a fashion forward edge, quality in fabrication, construction and fit, always flatters the female form and experiments with colour palettes and print. I enjoy her collections as they embody the fun of summer. The collections that Zimmermann produce are always well resolved and I hope one day I could be that successful.
Where to after graduation? A nice tropical holiday would be lovely but I think I will be working hard trying to find a suitable full time job that is right for me. Sydney has always been on the cards so that is a possibility! There are a lot of great Australian labels based there and exciting opportunities for swimwear especially.
Dream job? It's weird a lot of people have dream jobs but I don't so much...instead of fantasising I sort of look back and thinking wow how did I get here what an amazing opportunity it's been to do this!