The Vampire’s Wife x H&M
English in attitude, American in style, but with a dark European soul; The Vampire’s Wife is the British cult brand that artists, movie stars and fashion insiders are obsessed with. Founded in 2016, The Vampire’s Wife is known for figure hugging silhouettes, exaggerated shoulders, ruffles and a love of vintage design. In this collaboration, mainly made from sustainably source materials, we present mysterious and carefully designed statement pieces that are living contradictions. In a rare interview, we talked with founder and creative director Susie Cave about Victorian spirit photography, the essence of Englishness and Bambi.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE SPIRIT OF THE VAMPIRE’S WIFE?
“The spirit of the Vampire’s Wife rises out of all the things we love! There is a bit of Goya, some Russian ballet, a bit of Blanche Dubois. There is a prairie element, demure and utilitarian but also unabashedly sexy. They are designed to elongate the body like an El Greco and float like Victorian spirit photography. They invoke the ghosts of mermaids and air fairies and you can wear them with flip-flops and heels or no shoes at all. The spirit of The Vampire’s Wife is simply a love of beauty, beauty as seen through a chaos of influences!”
HOW HAS BEING ENGLISH INFLUENCED YOUR STYLE AS A DESIGNER?
“Well, my dresses are living contradictions — demure and buttoned-up, yet very sensual, traditional but subversive, sophisticated but casual, serious but playful, dark but full of light. Isn’t contradiction the essence of Englishness?”
WHO WAS YOU THE FIRST PERSON WHO INSPIRED YOU?
“Isabel Adjani! I saw the movie One Deadly Summer when I was about sixteen years old and it literally changed my life. I saw in Isabel Adjani’s extraordinary performance the very essence of rebellious, mutinous, dangerous femininity and to this day she remains my guiding star. I love her so much!”
WHAT INSPIRES YOU AT THE MOMENT?
“My heart is in the past, really, or at least dragging lost moments of history into the present and making them modern. So I look at art, watch old movies, listen to records, collect old photographs, read history books, go to museums and just sit and remember. Right now, Yves Saint Laurent, spirit photography, Bambi, orchids, William Blake and Egyptian singer, Uum Kulthum.”
The collection consists of desirable statement mini and maxi dresses made from recycled nylon or recycled polyester, accompanied by covetable jewellery: necklaces, a bracelet, earrings and rings. A handful of the jewellery pieces are partly made with sustainably sourced materials.
“Sustainable fashion means that the entire lifecycle of the products is considerate of reducing any unnecessary environmental and socio-economic harm" says Susie. "It is continuous work to ensure that the life cycle of the products from design, raw material production, manufacturing, transport, storage, marketing and final sale, to use, reuse, repair, remake and recycling of the product and its components keep this in mind. From an environmental perspective to minimize any undesirable environmental effect of the product’s life cycle by ensuring efficient and careful use of natural resources, remake, reuse, and recycling of the product and its components. From a socio-economic perspective monitoring and management to improve working conditions for all with ethical best practices.”
CAN FEMINISM BE EXPRESSED THROUGH FASHION?
“I have always felt a little uncomfortable with the concept of fashion empowering women, as I have always felt that women were full of strength, full of power, in their essence. So, my dresses are enhancers, I like to think, that allow that fundamental power to shine through. I think my dresses speak very strongly to women about harnessing their own inner-power.”
WHICH IS YOUR FAVORUITE PIECE FROM THE COLLABORATION?
“Well, I absolutely love the jewellery. It’s so playful and joyous and is such a lovely contrast to the dark and beautiful vibe of the dresses. And I love the cape! My God, it is so wonderful. Capes on the High Street! That’s what we need!”
THE THEMES OF THE COLLABORATION ARE STRENGTH, WOMANHOOD, VULNERABILITY, INTIMACY AND THE UNKNOWN. DO YOU FEEL THESE THEMES ARE DEEPLY ROOTED IN YOU AS A PERSON AS WELL?
"Yes, because I think all of these ‘themes’, as you say, circle around the idea of womanhood—strength, vulnerability and intimacy. For me, I feel that my strength essentially is my vulnerability, and they way that is made manifest is through intimacy. As a woman, I feel that these things are essential. Our vulnerability is the doorway to a much richer and more interesting life. The ‘unknown’ is, of course, the mysterious thing that we all reach toward, and perhaps never obtain—but still we reach! This is the thing—we must never stop reaching!"
Keep your eyes on our Instagram to experience the five themes of The Vampire’s Wife x H&M.
The collection is out 22 October 2020.