There is a certain quirkiness that is best exemplified by the ‘Etsy’ Girl. A term vaguely used to describe the kind of aesthetic that has sprung from sites like Etsy.com and Pinterest.com, dedicated to finding gorgeous alternative designs and interpreting them for a younger, more adventurous audience. The Etsy girl isn’t afraid to wear a cat necklace or a knit blouse that has been deliberately pilled to give the illusion of aging, the Etsy girl hones into the look she wants to convey and DIY’s her way to achieving it. South African designer Stefania Morland’s new collection, debuted at the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Johannesburg Spring 17 showcase takes this kitschy uniqueness of Etsy girls and refines it, creating a collection that is quirky as it is, street ready.
Showing several dozen looks, Morland dissects the culture behind the Etsy girl and exaggerates each component element. There is a certain approach to detailing and embellishment in the collection that suggests each piece was carefully worked by hand. Delicate strands of lace are used to edge deconstructed pockets on shift dresses and accentuate empire waists. Little embellished crosses are made from ribbon and appliqued like corsages over hearts and necklines. Striping and contrast panels are used heavily in the collection to break up the muted tones that dominate the pieces, bright orange, vibrant lemon play up muted creams and peaches and black is bright as day lined against hemlines and used as piping.
There is also a lot of airiness to the collection, sometimes from the fabric choices themselves and sometimes effected mechanically with layered dresses and bias cuts. Art silk, satin and chiffon all feature heavily as do cold shouldered slouchy sweat shirts and belted tunics. But the real tour the force of the collection come in the third act, where the lightness gives way to proper art pieces, layered lace and in one instance, actual flowers sewn into the hem of a puff skirt.
What Morland manages is a collection that while excellently tailored, remains ambivalent, the kind of clothing that transforms a girl from one who shops at Truworths to a domestic DIY goddess who has thrown her look together from repurposing her own wardrobe. And who doesn’t want that really?
Simon Deiner/SDR Photo