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Fashion Love Affair: Ohne Titel Design Duo Alexa Adams And Flora Gill Chat Inspiration
Cecilia Dean in an original fur created for her by Ohne Titel
Creating signature complex knitwear in, alternately, candy-pastel, severe structured black, Bauhaus, and Egyptian-inspired geometric patterns over the past few seasons, Ohne Titel has fast become one of New Yorks most beloved designer labels. With backgrounds working for Karl Lagerfeld before branching out on their own, Parsons School of Design graduates Alexa Adams and Flora Gill are creating modern, intelligent luxury that combines new, experimental techniques and fabrics with elegant silhouettes. The designers have won fans worldwide for their unique approach to design, which, like all good creative products, has come from a true love of, and respect for, the craft. Meeting Gill a few years ago in Paris and Adams, her design partner, later, I have gone on to interview the delightful duo too many times to count and they are never less than fun, lovely, and engaging. Quite a feat given that they have to answer a lot of the same questions season after season!
The inspiringly innovative Alexa Adams and Flora Gill give Full Frontal Fashion insight into finding their feet in the fashion world
Alexa Adams:When I was 7, I was given an athletic jersey as a gift its oversized proportions fascinated me. I took it apart and created a deconstructed dress, which I loved and wore all the time. Thats probably when my interest in fashion began. I started to see and think about clothes differently from then on, realizing there were ways to alter and redesign pieces to better suit my taste. Since childhood Ive been a visual person, always interested in people and the way they express or project themselves through what they wear. Fashion has the power to create a visual identity or to manipulate perceptions thats what makes it so interesting.
No other career was an option for me. I only ever thought of a future in fashion. My first concrete step in pursuing my career as a designer was moving to New York City for a summer internship when I was in high school. That experience only further convinced me that fashion was the right choice, and I enrolled at Parsons School of Design. I met Flora at Parsons, where we admired each others work before actually meeting. Between our junior and senior years, we made our first collection together outside of school. Later, after we worked together again for a year at Karl Lagerfeld, it seemed like a natural progression to start our own label together.
” />Ohne Titel runway, fall 2010
Ohne Titel is about reimagining the bodys shape in a modern way. We always think of ourselves and what we actually want to wear when we design. Our customer is a confident, adventurous woman. We think of Ohne Titel as intelligent luxury, and our woman is expressive and aware of craft, is playful and adventurous with her style, but is always dignified. I have a physical interest and approach to fashion. I love the process of creating clothing. Discovering new techniques and exploring form and shape keeps me inspired as a designer.
” />Flora Gills family portrait
Flora Gill:When I was about 8, I gathered a group of friends to braid a hill of tall grass. The result and process excited me, and I started thinking about otherwise mundane or ordinary materials in a new way. For the Ohne Titel collections, Alexa and I often juxtapose unexpected materials in this way, and it is still just as exciting for me.
Ohne Titel runway, Fall 2010
Fashion, as a form of self-expression, continually fascinates me. I think of fashion and style as a language that connects people and ideas. Fashion is communication its a first impression made without words. I never thought about being anything but a designer. I read aVoguearticle about Marc Jacobs in the early 90s, which mentioned Parsons School of Design, and I realized then that the first important step to starting my career as a fashion designer was to get into a great school. I was accepted into Parsons in 1999 on scholarship.
Cecilia Dean in an original fur created for her by Ohne Titel.
What I do as a fashion designer is a combination of research and experimentation. My eyes are always open to the new. That connection to the present and immediate future is what drives the creative process for me. Our signature aesthetic involves draping and structure, high-tech fabric development and articulated knits. Alexa and I have different interests but similar inspirations: Where Alexa has a strong eye for silhouette and structure, I love creating fabrics with knit techniques and surface treatment. That said, in the research, design, and fit processes, our roles are interchangeable. We enjoy the aesthetic freedom that comes with developing our own label. The work becomes very personal and that is always exciting.
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