Emilie Meldem


Emilie Meldem

Womenswear collections 'Dumbalicious', 2008, 'I feel bling bling' and 'Mes amis les habits' 2005, 2007
(diploma work)

Fashion Design

Jury report

Beautiful and dumb
Em­i­lie Mel­dem was ho­n­oured for her grad­u­ate col­lec­tion 'Dum­b­a­li­cious' (2008) as well as two other col­lec­tions: 'I feel bling bling' and 'Mes amis les habits' (2005, 2007). Her pre­sen­ta­tion is out­stand­ing and com­pre­hen­sive. Clothes, look books and videos com­ple­ment each other per­fectly and cre­ate a mood that is hard to re­sist: a kind of light­heart­ed­ness cou­pled with child­like joy and im­pu­dence that, how­ever, is con­stantly bro­ken or is sub­jected to her irony. In the video, this at­ti­tude is ad­di­tion­ally un­der­scored with music. The look books are de­signed with a lot of care and love of de­tail. They some­times con­tain il­lus­tra­tions that re­in­force and ac­cen­tu­ate the en­ergy of the clothes.
'Dum­b­a­li­cious', the name of the col­lec­tion, plays – as do her two other col­lec­tions – with the clichés that often guide our so­ci­ety's gaze. As Em­i­lie Mel­dem her­self points out her 'naïve' start­ing point was the cliché of the 'woman who has to be dumb and beau­ti­ful, but is se­cretly clever in order to ma­nip­u­late peo­ple'. Her col­lec­tion plays with this fic­ti­tious fe­male role and un­der­mines, crit­i­cises and iro­nises it. This am­bigu­ous play with am­bi­gu­ity, close­ness and dis­tance is suc­cess­ful. The col­lec­tion (skirts, tops, dresses, hot pants, coat jacket and ear jew­ellery) is based on A and U shapes, and the pieces are made of jer­sey, poly­ester, satin poly­ester, satin, cot­ton or wool. What most of them share are typ­i­cal clas­sic dec­o­ra­tions such as pas­sa­menterie and em­broi­dery. The pas­sa­menterie is made of em­broi­dered rib­bons and stitched onto the clothes. Em­i­lie Mel­dem plays with tech­niques and makes the dec­o­ra­tions look de­lib­er­ately 'cheap' and, with the mo­tifs she uses, also 'more naïve'. Many of the cloth­ing items have laser-cut bor­ders that look like sil­hou­ettes and some­times like frills, or she uses other lasered shapes that are ap­pliquéd or used as an in­te­gral part of the clothes. These shapes speak ironic vol­umes. We can see rolling pins, ice cream, flow­ers, di­a­monds and whipped cream: the sweet life.
What all the cre­ations have in com­mon is a style in which fash­ion, music and graphic de­sign are mixed to com­ple­ment each other per­fectly. Em­i­lie Mel­dem man­ages to ex­tract an at­ti­tude from them that, at its best, feels like 'Lost in Trans­la­tion'.
Pa­trizia Criv­elli


Emilie Meldem
Born in