Sculpting fur into fashion

Saga Furs

Emilio de la Morena will now try his hand at fur after the collections he has shown at London Fashion Week have grabbed loads of attention. The London-based Spanish designer attended a seminar at Saga Furs Design Centre to get started with fur.

Colour, silhouette and structure sparked interest in Emilio de la Morena’s collections for women. His dresses ooze with a feminine appeal that is fresh and young. “I show in London and London is very young,” he says. “I am more to the feminine, chic, almost Parisian, but I can still show in London, so it just makes sense to use fur. Fur is a beautiful product, luxurious, and I’ve always had an inclination to use it.”

Ethics was a prime factor in Morena’s decision to work with Saga Furs. “If I’m going to use fur, I’m going to get it from a trusted source. Saga Furs has a good campaign—I did my research,” he says. “It’s a brand I trust. I had heard about Saga Furs and read about policies and concluded that what they do is correct. And it’s a profitable brand, one that’s good to be associated with.”

A helping and experienced hand

London fur consultant Rebecca Bradley accompanied Morena to Saga Furs Design Centre where she helped him search for the right look.

Through friends and friends of friends, the two first met backstage at London Fashion Week where they chatted about ideas. Saga Furs had been in contact with Morena and Bradley—who handles fur tasks for a number of designers--had previously visited Saga Furs Design Centre, so fur became a natural topic of conversation. After chatting for a while, the potential for a future bond became quite obvious: Morena wanted to work with fur and Bradley is an experienced furrier who could help him.

Exploring, experimenting to find the extra dimension

Morena and Bradley approached fur from a structural point of view. “This is about exploration, to find something that goes with what I do: modern, graphic, understated,” the designer says. “I want it to look natural, architectural, structural.”

“He knows where he’s going, and I know where he’s going,” Bradley says, and Morena confirms the mental connection with a nod. They both attempt to describe with hand gestures where they are headed, but punctuate the attempt with a chuckle. “It’s still abstract, but when we get it we will know,” Morena declares, and Bradley adds: “Basically, we need to go from point A to point B and we’re somewhere in between.”

Building the aesthetic

Morena studied at Central St. Martins and London College of Fashion, and worked for Rafael Lopez and Jonathan Saunders before launching his own line. With a look that is young and chic, Morena quickly grabbed the spotlight after just a couple of seasons. A dress he created is part of a permanent display at Museu Textile Indumentaria de Barcelona.

“I studied sculpture and am used to working with clay or plastic, but I am terrible at drawing. So I mostly work on a mannequin and play with the fabric in three dimensions,” says Morena.

“When you drape the material, you understand it more,” notes Bradley. “How can pen and paper give you the right idea?”

The duo bounced a number of different ideas off one another while working with swatches of fur. “I’m not sure about a whole garment, but maybe. And maybe applications and utilitarian use of fur will be the way to go,” he says. “Getting help from the staff here, it’s interesting to learn about the qualities and types of fur, the colours and textures.”

Personal spin on luxurious fur

With endless possibilities for creating fashion from fur, Bradley and Moreno zeroed in on a few specific techniques that may feature in future collections.  “I want to make something special, something standout and fresh,” he says, and Bradley comments: “But not showy.” Morena considers this for a second and adds:  “Maybe a little showy, but not just a show piece, not one that’s noisy, rather something wearable and fur works so perfectly.”

Morena’s original idea was to explore the spectrum of colours available in fur, “but the more I learn about fur, the more I realize this is not necessary.”

One idea the two will probably pursue is choosing different materials and mixing them. “That’s my idea with fur. I know it’s been done before, but I plan to put my personal taste into it,” he says.

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