by Tara Sloane
Our next Voltage designer spotlight shines upon Danielle Everine, whose menswear-inspired garments not only showcase the designer’s brilliant eye for texture, detail, and structure, but convey messages of empowerment, specifically in regards to the demands of female beauty. Collections past have used unconventional elements – vinyl armor, wooden collars, and wings – to highlight such concepts, and this year’s Voltage collection will see no exception. But instead of using fortifying fabrics and shapes, Everine is using sheers, a nod towards the softer side of the strength and vulnerability dichotomy. It’s a new avenue for the bold designer, but we’re more than certain she’s up for the task.
This week, Danielle filled us in about her evolving fashion vision, her celebrity look-alike, and the “sheer” nature of her Voltage line.
l’etoile: Your Voltage line features a variety of sheers of different stiffness, weights, and prints. Technically speaking, what are the advantages and disadvantages of working with sheers? When creating your line, did either the fabric or the concept inspire the other, or did they both work hand in hand?
Danielle: While tailoring menswear-inspired garments, I developed an appreciation for how intricate and beautiful the internals of clothing can be. The interfacings, linings, padding and pockets that build structure and proper fit create wonderful multi-tiered elements that should be appreciated. By using sheers of different stiffness, weights and prints, I would like to expose the meticulously crafted secret aspects of garments that are seldom considered by the wearer.
l’etoile: To us, sheer fabrics seem the epitome of delicacy, of traditional feminine lightness. Considering that your previous collections have focused on issues of gender and power, of androgyny as a means of empowerment, how has this aesthetic evolved for your latest Voltage line?
Danielle: Like past work, this collection continues to convey a message of empowerment, although in an unexpected way. Employing fabrics so often considered to be one dimensionally feminine, this collection toys more with vulnerability and exposure than some of my previous work. These garments are about rejecting fear and accepting humanity. The sheers are a shell, a barrier under which the wearer bears all. She is open to all, hides nothing and fears no one. It is the ultimate dichotomy of strength and susceptibility, representing the choice everyone must make. We are all people under our clothes. Bringing to light what was once not visible exemplifies issues we choose not to see.
l’etoile: From delineation and conception to construction and completed collection, do you find that your design inspiration is an external process, or something more instinctive? What is your typical method for bringing a concept from inception to a blossomed full collection?
Danielle: New concepts typically come to me while I am fully immersed in a current project. Creating a runway collection is an intensely personal and time-consuming undertaking. Towards the end, my mind wanders to new exciting places. I often have the urge to begin on the new idea right away, but must be disciplined enough to see the current collection through. I file away these thoughts and let them emerge as fresh ventures for upcoming seasons.
I feel as though my fashion vision comes from an internal source of idealistic concepts, sometimes inspired by the tiniest detail on a vintage item. As I learn more and more, we all belong to a pop culture collective consciousness, unknowingly inspired by similar ideas. While the overarching concepts jive, each interprets the garments in a unique way.
l’etoile: Now in its seventh year, Voltage Fashion Amplified has only intensified in popularity and local talent. To what do you attribute Voltage's success and why do you think it continues to gain momentum?
Danielle: The show appeals to all. Plus, if each person working on the show (which I hear is around 300) invites one person, First Ave would be half full.
l’etoile: If you could design a collection for any band - past or present - who would it be and why?
Danielle: Josephine Foster. She has wonderful fashion sense, is a great musician and is my celebrity look-a-like.
Voltage: Fashion Amplified happens this Friday, April 15th at First Avenue. For more info and tickets visit www.voltagefashionamplified.com.
For more info on Danielle Everine visit www.danielleeverine.com