Carpets are making an impact in the fashion world. Wallpaper magazine recently commented ‘the most talked about catwalk accoutrement for the S/S 2015 womenswear season was a carpet.’ Said carpet was a 144-metre-square, hand-tufted rug inspired by South American grasslands, made by Alexandra Kehayoglou to cushion the catwalk at Dries Van Noten’s Summer 2015 show.
With London Fashion Week 2015 underway 20 – 24 February 2015, here is an extract from COVER’s feature article on the work of the Argentinian weaver from issue 37.
“Alexandra Kehayoglou weaves portals to transport you to another realm. She works her magic with a tufting gun, shooting, carving and teasing wool into verdant clumps of undergrowth that are inviting to the soul and to the soles of the feet alike.”
Belgian fashion designer Dries Van Noten’s commission for Paris Fashion Week 2014 came with just a month’s notice. Kehayoglou and her small team of weavers worked for sixteen days and nights straight before she travelled to France to oversee the installation of the woollen forest floor.
The procession of models emerged to the sound of birdsong. An evocative soundtrack by Belgian band Oscar and the Wolf accompanied their dreamy wanderings over undulating textile undergrowth. They drifted back to the mossy runway to drape themselves languidly on the carpeted ground for a relaxed finale full of flowing hair and floating silks.
Van Noten described the concept for the Midsummer Night’s Dream-inspired collection as ‘about a girl who loves festivals: Stonehenge, Glastonbury, Burning Man. She loves nature. She doesn’t follow the rules so she puts on precious fabrics in whatever way she wants.’ The impression created was that of stumbling across beautiful dawn scene following a night of stylish outdoor revelry.
The maker of the carpet shares a deep appreciation of the natural world with the fashion designer’s imagined muse. Her Pastizales collection is based on an abstraction of the fertile Argentinian Pampas. She holds dear this vast but fragile landscape of her native country and feels great responsibility towards it. The wool that she uses is from sheep that feed on the Pampas.
She says of her work: ‘I see my landscapes as a fragment of reality and, with them, I also encourage the viewers or collectors of my work to understand that it could also be a landscape at risk of extinction. Weaving a grass carpet is my way of contributing to preserving the environment.’ Her conscientious approach to creativity has earned the Pastizales project a special mention in the Design and Sustainability category from the jury panel at BID_14 (Bienal Iberoamericana de Diseño), the fourth Biennale promoting Latin American design, held in Madrid, November 2014.”