|Proteus was a sea god in
ancient Greek mythology. He had the ability to take on all manner of
shapes. From him, we derive the adjective protean, which means readily
taking on different shapes or forms.
It was the word that came to mind when I first saw Liz's designs. Dresses can be worn as skirts. Skirts can be worn as tops. Dresses can be worn as capes. Scarves can be worn as tops. You can wear a skirt, top or dress in various ways, by tying them differently, turning them inside out, backwards, or whatever strikes your fancy.
In fact, in this pictorial, we took advantage of the shape-shifting freedom inherent in Liz Collins' clothing.
I see in Liz's work not just a modern punk look, but a timeline of historical influence.
I spoke with Liz as she was preparing her fall 2000 show.
Collins clothing can be found at
TG-170 in New York (212) 995-8660.
Liz Collins studio: (401) 273-4662
Hair colorist: Sherwin Jones of Aerea
Aerea, 18 E. 17th St., New York
Read the Fashion Finds profile of
Sherwin and Aerea by clicking here.
Stylist: Kathy Martinez. Read Kathy's
Top 5 of 5 column every month.
Makeup: Grantley McIntyre. To read
more about Grantley, click here.
Shoes by Sergio Rossi. To see the
Rossi spring/summer collection,
click here. To see our earlier
feature on Sergio Rossi, click here.
Liz Collins: I'm inspired by many, many things, ranging from Gothic novels to Hieronymus Bosch (A Flemish painter of the late 15th Century; a forerunner of the surrealist movement --Gina) to Leigh Bowery (a leading radical London performance artist for 20 years until he died of AIDS --Gina) to Botticelli (A Florentine Renaissance painter; a great colorist and master of rhythmic line --Gina). A lot of my inspirations are not fashion....
Gina Pia Cooper: I didn't think they were by looking at your stuff.
Liz Collins: No. Nature. That's the main one. Whether it's trees or -- well, I guess since I've been doing this knitwear, I've really been inspired by the human body. Kind of thinking about it. Or thinking about clothes as a metaphor. It's about poetry and thinking of turning oneself inside-out. Like, what would you look like on the inside? Or a dress that's the inside of you on the outside, but mixed with romantic and spiritual ideas and transformation. Transformative dress. I think about that. Like, putting something on and becoming someone else or becoming more yourself or more connected to yourself.
Gina Pia Cooper: You have also mentioned sea creatures -- which ones?
Liz Collins: Jellyfish. You know, it's funny, I don't really look at pictures of jellyfish, but they're in the back of my mind. Because they're so strange and magical and full of these weird colors. I find in nature the color combinations are so unexpected a lot of the time. Like the movie Microcosmos. There were moments in that movie where I was just drooling because of the colors, like a field of green with gray and some little hot pink butterfly. Those kinds of things -- that's enough to inspire me. There are just so many things that drive me in my work. I work in a style that I've started falling into. Like, instead of making a drawing of a garment, and then picking out the colors, making the patterns, and then executing it, I'll start with the fabric, and I knit swatches or I play....