I came to know the textile designer, Angela Hooker, in 2010 after I reviewed the Felder Felder SS11 show at London Fashion Week. Angela had collaborated with the Felders to produce the textile designs for some of their most iconic printed pieces, spanning two consecutive seasons. The London-based, Paris-born creative is now working with Steffi Crown, a new high-end London fashion, swimwear and accessories brand which, despite its youth (it just launched in 2011) has already received praise in Harper's Bazaar as "Best Newcomer", named Madame Figaro's "Trendspotting Face", and has won celebrity fans including The Artist's Berenice Bejo and Missy Pyle. Limited edition collections feature sharp geometry with a bit of playful flair, printed with a high quality digital process on the best silks, cotton, Lycra and stretch Napa leather sourced in France.
Angela speaks about her collaborations with infectious enthusiasm - she has an endearing passion and reverence for the fashion talents she works with, and a knack for finding such fertile alliances which spark what would seem to be an endless stream of inspiration.
This is a new collaboration for you - what's it like to work with Steffi Crown?
It’s exciting designing digital prints with Stephania Ayiotou, the designer of the brand. Stephania has a strong idea of what she wants to start with which makes our collaboration more powerful. From a creative point of view, this has been the most exciting project - she really pushes the boundaries and does not compromise creativity to look “commercial”.
How did you meet Stephania?
I met Stephania in London two years ago, in a pop up shop near Notting Hill. A couple of months later she called me up from Cyprus and asked me to collaborate on a brand new fashion collection she was working on. I happily took the project on board.
She's very talented, fashion being just one of the ways she expresses herself...
Yes, she's a multi-disciplinary artist and filmmaker, her directorial debut, Mad Dame, was selected at Cannes 2011. She is now shooting an exciting fashion film featuring her new collection which will show first in New York and then LA in July.
Can you tell us about your creative process in designing textiles for the brand?
Before we start a print collection, Stephania will send me a detailed email that will include inspiring photographs, sometimes YouTube links of documentaries, for example, along with inspiring words and photos. She describes what she likes about each one and how she feels it will relate to her collection. It’s a pretty complete brief, a very solid starting point.
Is this an "opposites attract", complementary type of collaboration, or more of a "meeting of the minds"?
We have a similar approach to fashion; we are both inspired by the power of nature. That’s the main reason this collaboration is very successful for me. Nothing is more original than nature, I will never grow bored of this topic.
Stephania is also happy to explore the different possibilities digital printing has to offer, making the textile design process a lot more flexible and exciting.
Can you explain a bit about the digital print process?
Traditional printing, or screen printing, uses limited colours - a maximum of 18. However, there are no limitations with regards to colour and design in digital printing. The colours in digital printing are also more vivid, and you can print on more sophisticated, high-tech fabrics as well.
Do you have an especially favourite print from this collection?
My favourite print is the Midnight Garden. The palette is inspired by the colours of a garden under the moonlight, and the pattern of the print is inspired by life in the underwater world, such as coral.
I also love the Black Lava jeans which are low-waisted and so easy to wear and flattering.
Steffi Crown's Stephania Ayiotou with The Artist's Bérénice Béjo wearing the Midnight Garden scarf; Black Lava jeans. Above right is Missy Pyle, also from The Artist, wearing the Blue Coral Silk Chiffon Dress
How would you describe the Steffi Crown woman?
I believe the wearer of Steffi Crown is a modern woman, she will feel very unique and powerful and in harmony with nature.
We look forward to the new collection and film! You can view and purchase the Steffi Crown SS12 collection at www.stefficrown.com
Steffi Crown collection photos by Rob Jarvis