Melbourne-based designer Natalie Hutton is one of only eight Australian finalists in this year’s international World Of Wearable Art finals.
Taking her label Claudia Savage to the iconic New Zealand event, she will be up against designers from 17 countries, and is one of only two Melbourne finalists, an impressive feat. The World Of Wearable Art celebrates its 30th year in 2018 and features a massive 148 finalists.
For Natalie, her feature piece, Echoplex – Goddess of Reverb, took eight years to bring to fruition. It has been a labour of love in every sense. The garment itself weighs about 15kg and features 50-metres of hand-stitched honey-combed silk panels. Each individual panel took eight hours to complete by hand and the gown has 40 panels. This balances on a waist cinching corseted bodice that aims to give a four-inch waist reduction. All up, the gown took Natalie about 500 hours of sewing – time she dedicated in between her work creating edgy made-to-order one-of-a-kind fashion garments.
“I’d had the design on paper back in 2010, but after it fell out of my head I took a good look at it, laughed and put it in the ‘brain imaging more than my hands can engineer’ pile, where it sat taunting me with its epic challenge,” she says.
“Despite being on paper, it never left my head for very long and what I’d guessed to be a good few hundred hours of hand sewing for a good five to six years. I paired it with a pair of vintage headphones I pulled apart and rebuilt with a coating of steel spikes and Swarovski crystals – this piece and indeed the collection it belongs to are all inspired by sound and how I see it.”
Claudia Savage’s seven-piece collection is aptly titled Synaesthetics, inspired by the term synesthetic, a perceptual phenomenal. Its no surprise that Natalie’s inspiration is based in sound, the daughter of a musician, it is in her blood. Her perception of sound, and indeed music, is where she derives her creative ideas. “The designs are all physical representations of the shapes, textures and weights I experience while listening to music,” she says. “I chose clothing as a canvas because it offers huge scope for design ingenuity. The need for flexibility, movement, structure and precision of both construction and aesthetics and turning it into wearable artwork has become a challenge I love setting myself, especially when working with clients on custom pieces.”