I recently discovered the designer Manuela Dack. I thought “with such a name, she can only be a winner”. Well, I was right (I don’t know if it’s down to the name, though).
Manuela graduated from Middlesex University in 2010 and since then she has been a very prolific designer. Her first collection, Autumn/Winter ’11, was discovered at the London Concept store Machine-A and stocked at The Shop at Bluebird on King’s Road. Since then, Manuela received plenty of attention from the press and media, including Elle Japan, Grazia Magazine, Style.it, SHOWStudio, Vogue Italia, Style Bubble, W Magazine and recently The Independent and Fashion Editor at Large (Grazia’s fashion editor Melanie Rickey’s blog). And it’s easy to see why. This hot new talent’s signature elements are silk and leather layering, embellishment and texture. Her elegant style is clean despite including several intricate craft detailing, such as dreamlike hand-dyeing, embroidery and beaded fringing.
Her Spring/Summer ’12 collection is astounding: cascading silk layers ripple ethereally like in her second film collaboration, a short video which was directed by artist Max Langlands and that focuses on the sculptural and shape aspects of clothing. British-made, delicate lace and digitally printed leather (cowhide is printed to look like stingray to keep things ethical) are juxtaposed in a natural and breezy colour palette to create a minimalistic and sophisticated collection.
The inspiration for this collection came from the designer’s childhood on the Caribbean Island of Grand Cayman. The sea, colours and textures of the Caribbean, along with the island’s traditional craft techniques, play a very strong role in influencing this collection. And the perfectionist obsession of the attention to detail, which sees beading and hand-dyeing all done in-house, the label’s production kept within the UK and the inclusion of British craft work, can only guarantee wonderfully high-quality product standards, which puts this young newcomer to the same level of high-end designers.
Her Autumn/Winter ’12 sees the return of her inspiring outerwear, which features a powerful feminine silhouette with a focus on detail. This latest collection was inspired by a collection of carved and inlaid wooden boxes owned by the designer, which transpired in the design through cut-away leather and with an angular uniform silhouette in contrast to spring/summer’s relaxed vibe.
Manuela won London and Paris Fashion Week Sponsorship for Autumn/ Winter 2012 from Vauxhall Fashion Scout and the Center of Fashion Enterprise and her new pieces from the S/S ’12 collection are being stocked by The Shop at Bluebird, where they seemed only too happy to take her design on board for a second time.