EYES IN™ Magazine Editor-in-Chief Vivian Van Dijk covered live as Serkan Cura released his spectacular FW15 collection at Haute Couture Week in Paris. The magnificent collection showcases the designer's love of carefully crafted outfits made from exotic feathers.
Two years ago, Serkan Cura gathered all his savings to buy most of the stock of feathers of Maison Fevrier, a Parisian plumassier or feather specialist which was closing down. Maison Fevrier had been specializing in theatrical costumes and along with ostrich and peacock feathers, Cura was also able to get his hands on a stock of exotic bird feathers including pappus, cassoar, heron and various birds of paradise.
“They had about 200sqm of feather stock. I couldn’t buy everything, so I concentrated on the exotic ones because these feathers are no longer available as the birds are now protected and the only way to get your hands on those is to buy old stocks,” explains the 31-year-old couturier.
Now sitting in his small atelier, surrounded by transparent boxes where feathers have been carefully classified by species, Cura is working on a short bustier dress that will incorporate his entire stock of birds of paradise feathers, the equivalent of 100 birds, that he will unveil in a few days at what will be his second couture collection and his first couture runway.
“It’s a bit like the cavern of Alibaba,” he laughs, “there is really everything here, turkey, swan, duck, goose, parrots.” Cura is quick to point out that his exotic feathers are old stocks that he bought scavenging flea markets or auctions. “I’m a real bargain hunter and I’ll go everywhere to get my hands on different feathers. The other day I found a box with old feather from herons, I had to throw away half of them, but I kept the rest. I’ve also gone to auctions, recently a stock of costumes from the Folie Bergeres was put up for sale and I bought a small lot of beautiful blue ostrich feathers that I will now be able to reuse in a dress,” he explains.
Cura’s fascination with feathers began as a boy and he remembers finding old hats and feathers in a flea market when he was 13 and starting playing with them. Today he loves to trick the eye by playing with different feathering techniques that allow him to create fur-like garments. For his new collection, Cura has designed a three-meter-long shawl that weaved feathers on silk, reproducing an old sample he had found. The slow process took six months to a seamstress to realize, but the effect is striking. He has also designed a corseted jacket using peacock feathers that he dyed and then burned to give it the appearance of monkey fur.
“I spent a lot of time studying old techniques. Feathers are a very flexible and transformable material. For example you can use feathers and make them resemble silver fox,” he explains, adding he has also developed a special glue that permits his garments to be washed. “This glue can be encrusted into the fabric, so that it doesn’t dissolve in water like the glue used by plumassiers,” he explains.
Born in Anvers, Belgium, Cura studied fashion design at the Royal Academy of Antwerp and graduated in 2007 with a collection that explored absurdist tone-on-tone silhouettes with oversized structured jackets and full skirts made of handcrafted textures. He then worked for four years in the atelier of Jean-Paul Gaultier, which he describes as a “great experience.” Yet, Cura was also itching to set up his own label where he would be free to experiment. This led him to create one of the most infamous brands in fashion.
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Source: Serkan Cura
Images courtesy Serkan Cura