Veronique Branquinho On The Power Of A Whisper

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We discuss the pace of fashion and her A/W15 collection with Belgian designer Veronique Branquinho

Veronique Branquinho's long-standing career has often flown under the radar of mainstream fashion press, leaving the Belgian designer with an aura of mystery that was elegantly mirrored in her A/W15 collection. Emily Brontë's poetry was subtly incorporated into knitted sweaters while leather was paired with tweeds for a modern romanticism expressing "the power of a whisper," the epithet that has come to define her woman. Here Branquinho speaks about her inspirations and how she feels about the pace of 2015's fashion industry.

On the Belgian avant-garde…
"I started designing clothes during the 80s, where fashion was very hard and all about materialism: Moncler, Montana, Gucci, Dynasty and Dallas… I loved to watch it, but it was just so far away from my world that I never had a connection with it. At the same time I remember there was this Belgian magazine which promoted Belgian avant-garde fashion… it was the generation of Martin Margiela, Dirk Van Saene, Dirk Bikkembergs and it looked completely different. I could really understand their language. I think that fashion is a way of expressing yourself and having a reaction to the times – so when I started, when I went to college, it felt instinctual and natural."

On Emily Brontë…
"The A/W15 invitation was a poem by Emily Brontë… in fact, all of the poetry in the collection was. I took it from a really beautiful book I have called Poems of Solitude. I think that is part of my women; they’re independent and strong, but at the same time they’re fragile and I can imagine they get lost in romantic fantasies of solitude. I think that the hair and makeup was the most dark-romantic part, very Emily Brontë. It’s a little bit like an image of a haunted woman in the forest, running away from something. I can imagine that the hair gets loose like that, tree branches getting the hair and making it messy; they were like little birds escaping and dreaming away."

On comfortable sweaters...
"I think when you have a show, you work on an image, a mood and a world. But I also think that, when you deconstruct the collection and just look at the trousers or the jackets then you have really contemporary pieces that are well-made in good fabrics. It’s always very important when I design that I offer an image – but I don’t expect people to be exactly like that. I think the women I design for are adults, intellectual, with an eye for good products but not too screamy; they like the power of whisper. And, in the end, we all want comfortable sweaters but I like the fact that, in this collection, there’s something hidden in them. You don't even notice the poetry the first time that you look at them; they just look like graphic sweaters. It’s nice that there’s a hidden message, a secret."

On the pace of fashion…
"It is a very difficult period for me, and for in fashion in general. At the moment, I don’t like what’s happening; there is no place for younger designers, for free creativity, for people with another voice, another way. Before, there was more respect for alternative directions and now everything seems so mainstream.

"I’m questioning myself a lot, 'What are we doing? Is this the world we are working for?'"

You see all of the younger designers graduating from school and wanting to work in this big fashion machine and it’s a different mentality, it’s all very driven by money and business and it’s hard. I’m questioning myself a lot, 'What are we doing? Is this the world we are working for?'"