“The Happiest Brand on Earth” does indeed make our hearts sing
Fashion week can be tricky. We want to support emerging talent and we also want to support designers that are working sustainably. And of course we also want to really love the clothes. Is it possible to “have it all”? With Dauphinette the answer is YES. Olivia Cheng’s work is Highly intentional. Quirky. Beautiful. And deeply satisfying. While Olivia’s creations are truly unique, we hope other young designers take inspiration from her delicate, deliberate approach to fashion.
I hope you go slow, because fashion is not only about wearing – it’s equally about patience and education. While this is by no means a retrospective, it is by all means about perspective –looking more closely at ourselves, protecting what is fragile, and sharing vulnerabilities –because who can we relate to, if not each other? –Olivia Cheng from the Notes on the Collection
Below are a few of our favorite looks.
Vintage Mohair, Mother of Pearl, Cotton, Wool
Within this collection you’ll find various interpretations of armor – the first being this fully covered Mother-of-Pearl suit that references the Pearlie Kings and Queens of England. Over 12,000 Mother of Pearl buttons, vintage and deadstock from the 1940s-1950s, were collected and sewn onto a vintage mohair coat and wool shorts made in-house –a process that took over three months.
Leather, Metal, Porcelain
A study in “domestic” materials, this dress is made using leftover leather found in our local handbag artisan’s workshop. Sewn in panels, the body features real hardware ranging from a 1940s brass mail slot, kept functional even on the dress, to cabinet knobs and pulls. This ensemble is a nod to Rei Kawakubo’s work with hardware store findings and represents Dauphinette’s continuted exploration of untraditional mediums in fashion. To complete the ensemble, Cheng layers under hand-illustrated printed cotton shirting, and adds a pair of upcycled Dr. Marten’s embellished with the same utilitatian, quotidienne hardwares.
Cotton, Mother of Pearl, Egg, Metal Tomato, Almond, Cherry Chili, Resin
Jubilance is one of six looks exploring Dauphinette’s approach to separates and daily dressing. This look is approached like a soft Sunday morning –comfortable, gentle, refreshing. An illustrated cotton dress is layered under a black vest embellished with Mother-of-Pearl buttons from a 1940s Ohio button factory. The wearer prioritizes an elegant approach to comfort, emboldened by our Electric Cherry Blossoms print where snakes encroach and intermingle with hundres of sweet springtime blooms.
Cherry Blossom, Rose, Resin, Freshwater Pearl, Metal
A continuation of their chainmaille practice, Armor expresses strength through over 400 cherry blossoms. Each flower is pressed, preserved in resin, and hand-linked to form a mini dress that lays coolly against the body.
Wool & Viscose Jersey, Padding
A softening heart, a summer tomato, Concave was born from a desire to create something of odd, egg-ish, bulbous proportions that feels simultaneously sexy and heartening.
Thus, born out of viscose jersey is something of a t-shirt gone mad –an egg-shaped cutout paves the way for a voluminous padded skirt, balanced on top by classic muscle t-shirt sleeves.
Egg, Crinoline, Nylon Lace, Alpaca Yarn
A destination of sorts, Fragile is a near-and-dear ensemble that encapsulates Dauphinette’s growth over the past five years. Made of over 400 real eggshells hand-stitched to a 1950s crinoline base, and paired with a sleeveless top knitted in-house, this ensemble reflects the delicacy, balance, and discipline required for today’s working artists.
In a moment so saturated, Fragile is a pause-and-refect –the lookout point along a hiking trail. It’s a dance we’re all learning – how to simultaneously look backwards, look forwards, and continuously reflect inwards. Today, however, is a moment for looking out, looking around, and feeling truly astonished about the power of community.
Photos: Yanran Xiong
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