This is the first installment of a feature where I interview some artists and craftyfolk I really admire. Today I’m starting with the evil genius behind the wonderful Fi Fi Le Rue label, Fiona Archibald. She creates dresses and corsages that are adorned with beautiful embroidery, beading and other gorgeous flourishes. One of the elements that really lifts the Fi Fi Le Rue line above the norm is the amount of care and attention in the work- Fiona is meticulous in creating her designs and it shows.
I’ll start by suckering you with the two questions everyone dreads: how did you get started and where does your inspiration come from?
I’ve been working on FiFi Le Rue since 2006 and have been developing the label ever since. I specialised in Textile Design while at Art School and it really went from there, slowly but surely getting my head round my next steps. My inspirations come from pretty much everywhere, from old-school Hollywood starlets like Grace Kelly to the pin up models of the 50s. I love the idea of vintage inspired pieces with a modern twist. Growing up watching Dynasty gave me a taste for OTT cocktail wear- Crystal Carrington had some foxy outfits, never mind Alexis Colby and her slinky sequin numbers!
I love Vivienne Westwood. Her whole rebellion and refusal to conform to conventional fashion really inspires me- her stuff can be really edgy but still wearable at the same time. I often find myself drooling over Christian Lacroix beadwork, wow! Just that over the top embellishment and immaculate silhouette is jaw dropping to me as a designer. I look to a lot of fine artists when it comes to colour, I particularly like Ken Curries’ (Scottish painter) use of pale tones next to dark backgrounds and pop art can be so inspiring when it comes to funky eye-catching colour pallettes.
You’ll probably see a very exhausted me standing in the cold at Cows Lane! In terms of the collection I am heading towards more funky party and cocktail wear. I feel that people are looking for a very individual style, especially with summer weddings and functions etc, they want to stand out from the crowd but not have to pay a huge amount to do so. I aim to create very affordable high fashion.
At Cow’s Lane Designer Mart, every Saturday from 14th March 10 til 5 come rain or shine!! My website is being developed as we speak and I hope to have the Fi Fi Le Rue website launched very soon. Watch this space!