During the early days of the creation of Blue Nude, it was decided the brand wouldn't use black in its collections. The brand was to be about positivity, expression, and creativity. Black has long been a crutch used by the industry to denote monotone expressions of 'chicness' and a safe uniformity.
On July 12th, 2022, the first images from NASA's James Webb Space Telescope were revealed. There is no extravagant way to say it - the images are simply incredible.
The images influenced our perception of colour, of black. Black was seen in a new light. Black suddenly felt like an escape, a journey into the unknown. At times we have felt uncertain about the world, but galactic science and exploration gave us a feeling that hope and beauty could be found in uncertainty
JWST’s images bring, along with scientific knowledge, a myriad of emotions. They can be positive, inspiring awe and hope with an underlying sensation of graceful humility. Alternatively, the vast scale of space is existential. When looking at the images, the viewer is confronted with the reality of how little we know about our universe - about our own lives and place within the cosmos.
While the world fights over truth and what we think we know, the idea of acknowledging what we don't know contemplates the idea of peace.
“The extraordinary appearance, loved and feared, of a piece of void, at once finite and infinite, reactivates the symbolic contact between inside and outside, earth and heaven, male and female, active and passive, conceptual and physical, thus renewing the process of knowing” - Anish Kapoor
The Tarantula collection is named after the Tarantula Nebula, the largest and brightest star-forming region in the 'Local Group' of galaxies closest to our Milky Way. Tarantula (the collection) is designed around the three great mysteries - creation, infinity, and oblivion - of which the answers lie in cosmic exploration. Creation - how did the universe begin? What is the meaning of life? Infinity - will we ever truly understand infinity and the expanses of the universe? When does time end? Oblivion - is there life after death? Is death a passing into another dimension of reality, akin to a black hole?
The incredible emotional reaction to JWST's images set us off on a cosmic journey to replicate the inspiration into wearable art. Along the way, we partnered with two artists - Lea Rose Kara, a London-based Sculptor, and Studio Cosmogram, a London-based visual design studio.
Through the images and our work on the collection, black was no longer a cover or a shield. It became an incredible base to highlight embellishment, texture, and colour, a way to expand upon and reinterpret the visual language of Blue Nude. We explored many new techniques for the collection - sculpture, screenprint, and couture embroidery.
Throughout the process of creating the Tarantula collection, our studio has focused on a particular emotional reaction in response to the images: gratitude. How lucky we are to be alive, to see humanity nudge towards the answers, and witness the spectacle of the universe. How lucky we are, in all the expanses of the universe science has discovered, to call our beautiful green Earth our home.
For my man in the stars. Dedicated to W.P.
Pictured: Tarantula Nebula. Credits: NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI, Webb ERO Production Team