Veronique Branquinho's Quest for Simplicity

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Veronique Branquinho Pre-Spring 2016
Veronique Branquinho Pre-Spring 2016Photography by Ronald Stoops

We go down to the woods to take a first look at the Belgian designer's anti-collection

The first time that Veronique Branquinho collaborated with photographer Ronald Stoops was at the Antwerp Academy in 1995 – and then, in 2013 after Branquinho took a three-year break from her eponymous brand, they reunited. This season they have created a lookbook that is a brilliant revisioning of their nineties collaboration; a thoroughly modern yet historied study of Branquino's psyche and struggle with industry politics, explored through the medium of a fifteen-dress capsule collection. During a time where pre-collections are becoming the marker for a brand's success and the fashion calendar is escalating at an unforgivingly rapid pace, Branquinho is exploring "a return to simplicity and to an uncomplicated lifestyle", revisiting the relationships that helped forge her early career. For her Pre-Spring collection she has focused on one thing: dresses, and one feeling: freedom. Here she talks about her inspirations and quest for simplicity amid the frenetic, relentless whirlwind of the fashion industry.

On inspiration...
"I need a really simple pace in my life. I just long for simple, authentic things. That’s why I said with this collection, instead of making a whole story, let’s just focus on 15 dresses. This is how it started – with a return to simplicity. I think that there was a feeling of nature that was connected to that. That’s why we decided to go to a forest with the girls and the dresses. Like with my A/W15 collection, there are words hidden in the dresses: love, hope and faith. And in a skirt there is "wild at heart", like the song or the movie by David Lynch, which I really love. It’s also a really nice state of mind — it’s an option to be wild at heart. To be free. Freedom from the rules."

On finding a balance...
"It’s always been a twisted relationship between fashion and the industry. It’s a creative thing, but it seems like all the figures and numbers have taken over. And I think we need to find a balance. I think when I started I was much more confident about designing and now it’s about rules. This collection was an emotional thing; I asked myself, 'where do I come from? When was I really happy?' Because I am happy in the moment of creation, and I really love it, but this whole thing is tough. Especially because, even if I'm good, I'm still just a little studio; I have nothing to compare with the big brands. I’m not really playing on the same field." 

On how to work...
"One of the things I said to myself when we started was that I really need to find a way that I feel happy working in the industry, but also that I connected with people that I love, I trust. I just want to be surrounded by them, in both life and work. It makes it so much better.  I need this to be anchored. I love what I do — I love my job. Because I am happy in the moment of creation."