Looks from Kate Sylvester’s Exploding Woman collection. Images supplied.
While it might be an unusual title for a collection Kate Sylvester‘s new Spring/Summer range called Exploding Woman is a study in duality with aesthetically pleasing results. The designer has become known for her intellectual inspiration and for this range she began with the following iconic quote from French writer, philosopher and activist Simone de Beauvoir:
“I am awfully greedy; I want everything from life. I want to be a woman and to be a man, to have many friends and to have loneliness, to work much and write good books, to travel and enjoy myself, to be selfish and to be unselfish… You see, it is difficult to get all which I want. And then when I do not succeed, I get mad with anger.”
The writer herself was typically very understated and buttoned down in her style, much like other creatives that Kate Sylvester has been inspired by over the years including photographer Lee Miller, writer Nancy Mitford and artist Georgia O’Keefe. Each of them presented themselves in a similarly restrained way sartorially with a sophistication that conveyed their intellect, yet the expression of their ideas and creativity was quite the opposite with each creating work that was considered emotional, explosive and challenging the status quo of the time.
Kate Sylvester identifies with this fascinating dichotomy, herself an avid wearer of suits, and wanted to explore the idea of being buttoned down on the outside, and quite literally exploding on the inside – hence the title, Exploding Woman. The designer and New Zealand poet Hera Lindsay Bird mused over what it means to be an ‘Exploding Woman,’ and in response Bird wrote her poem Dulce et Decorum etc, reworking de Beauvoir’s quote into a contemporary context which also captures the collection’s rambunctious spirit.
The new collection offers a beautiful juxtaposition of Kate Sylvester’s refined neutral suiting and shirts with vibrant explosions of raspberry, tangerine and purple on eye-catching prints and voluminous dresses. That idea of heightened energy bubbling under the surface that spontaneously explodes is a dynamic one for a collection and delivers a fresh twist on the brand’s signature style.
Paying homage to the initial inspiration of the range, De Beauvoir’s buttoned up, tailored personal style is reflected in elegant suiting and argyle inspired knitwear. A collared leatherette raincoat cinched with a waist tie is the perfect way for our heroine to stay warm and dry and is perfectly paired with a black and white checked suit or winsome midi dress in rich chocolate satin. Kate Sylvester has a gift for taking timeless, vintage-inspired concepts and making them modern and appealing for today’s woman.
Elsewhere in the collection vibrant florals capture the joyfulness of the new season in vivid hues, the brand has always been beloved for its beautiful dresses and this season’s romantic lace looks will be in demand again too. A charming evening option is a satin wrap dress in emerald green that has just the right amount of slink. Fans of Sylvester’s popular trousers will love the slouchy striped versions that are inspired by menswear shapes too.
It’s clear that Kate Sylvester knows exactly what her customers love and they will no doubt be exploding with joy to get their hands on this range of wonderful garments. As always, the clothing is manufactured ethically in limited runs so customers are getting a well-made piece that is designed to be treasured.