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Some of you may be familiar with the Theatre de la Mode concept that came out in post-war Paris where couturiers designed outfits for 1:3 scale mannequins made out of wire because fabric was scarce at the time. 

And so, the concept comes around again in the new millennium as a new label Theatre de la Mode is trying to constantly grasp new ways of presenting their collections, just as Robert Ricci (son of Nina Ricci) did successfully decades ago.  Sara Flamm and Christopher Kelly debuted their AW08-9 collection ‘Willows’ at London Fashion Week with a fully scalable/wearable collection of womenswear and menswear presented on bespoke figurines, as creatures of the woodland. 

They could so easily have gone down the route of fanciful costumes on dolls that will have girls coo-ing and demanding full sets to adorn their French boudoirs, but Flamm and Kelly have used the concept of mininature mannequins but applied high-end casualwear and modern tailoring to them instead.  So that the clothes transcend the novelty value of ‘Oh look, it’s a doll’ and become clothes that are actually wearable. 

They have taken ideas from traditional Jewish costumes with salvaged fabrics to create the clothes so underneath the rustic looking pieces, there’s embellishment in the finishings.  It’s a clash of rough n’ ready and tailored n’ smart. 

Of course, for SS09, selling their clothes will have to be part of Theatre de la Mode’s agenda so real size models will be used.  But for now, I’ll stick to hoping these outfits below will do a ‘Honey, I blew up the kid’ magic trick.         

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Comments (30)

  1. Anna V says:

    i went to the opening during lcf – was nice to take a break from the usual catwalk

  2. Drusilla says:

    There’s still a ‘magic in the real world’ element to this that I really like…and clothes in stores mostly get presented on dummies anyway, this is cooler..

  3. Hayley says:

    PLEASE help me. I am doing an essay for uni about the changing face of media because of the internet and I remember you wrote something about blogs not being better than magazines because both are important and how you like to hold the pages of the latest mag lalalala etc…etc… Do you remember what I’m talking about? I can’t find it using google search. I have to hand the essay in tomorrow ahhhhh why did I leave it to the last minute? Please if you or someone else can find the link to the post and comment back that would save my life right now. Thanks.

  4. Anna says:

    the head are slightly creepy but the clothes are definitely wearable.

  5. Cate says:

    yup i heard about the theatre de la mode concept in post-war paris and i get really nostalgic to see that it’s coming back again (even if i didn’t live at the time). I like it!

  6. Oronzo Negro says:

    For lovers of red:
    Full red Google

  7. Jillian says:

    WOW these are really different. I actually kind of like them, they remind me of dolls, which I’m assuming that’s what they were making.
    Definitely original… but kind of weird at the same time

  8. Luxe. says:

    I really love this idea, your right they could have gone the cutesy route but I’m glad they avoided it. The result is more whimsical in a way.

  9. annah says:

    these are so sweet…
    they remind me of the miniature gowns at the Golden Age of Couture exhibition..

  10. Likky says:

    Those are creepy and magical all at the same time!

  11. Sabrina says:

    I think the pink cat-like puppet on the bottom row pulls of the outfit beautifully. It looks so nonchalant and the rope belt around the waist is a nice touch….. 😛 I’m being silly.
    I really like the quirky dolls. I never thought I’d be cooing over something a puppet is wearing… but there you have it 🙂

  12. lady coveted says:

    hehe i kind of like them, puts a new spin on the concept of dressing up!

  13. Anonymous says:

    oh my, that’s so coll!

  14. ediot says:

    such fun fashionexhibition. really cool. love the clothes as well!

  15. The little details are magnificent. Like the buttons of their white shirts, robes, fridges, and jeans. Even their animals heads.
    Lately “the little details” are what’s been intriguing me lately.
    Also seeing this reminds me of a friend I had in high school and she made each one of us little “dolls” out of clothespin. She used wrapped string around the clothespin to make our outfits and hair. Really detailed. My doll even had my curly hair and this outfit that I wore at the time. So strange that I would see this & remember something that I hadn’t thought about in over 5 years.
    I’ll have to try to see if I can find my “mini-me” I don’t think I ever threw it away.

  16. idil vice says:

    I LOVE this! – it works with the type of clothes that these guys are doing. The miniature models look like little rag dolls which is what they are kind of aiming for with the looks of their collection… I do appreciate it when designers not just choose a presentation style to be different but to in fact come close circle with the concept. Congrats!

  17. These are so cool. Like an installation.

  18. enc says:

    I love how these look. I’ll make the obvious and probably-already-made reference to Tim Burton reference, saying these remind me of costumes from his films.

  19. Hayley says:

    Hey Susie.
    Thanks again for your help with the link. I handed in my essay this morning and its not too bad (not too good either). I think I’ve learned not to leave it to the last minute again.
    I love the fashion. Whenever I see bunny’s I always think of Donnie Darko.

  20. Jenna says:

    I love the way that the arms and legs aren’t the same length. It gives a rustic feel. I also like the stands they are on.

  21. Jill says:

    It’s cool that you posted about this today, because just yesterday I was browsing and found a designer from Italy whose clothes were featured on his site on drawings. The clothes were real, but the figures wearing them were sketches, it was very cool.

  22. Becky says:

    Wow, these figures remind me of Art Speigelman’s “Maus”. I love the clothes – there’s a shabby delicacy to them which is very intriguing. I shall be keeping a beady eye on this label.
    As usual, Susie thanks for bringing them to our attention – I’ve seen so much interesting and oddball stuff because of this blog and I love it.

  23. Lady Smaggle says:

    Hey Susie I just read an article about you in Australian Vogue!
    It was so weird like seeing one of friends on T.V. Well hopefully you’ll get a stupid amount of new Aussie readers. Well done! I hope your interview thing went well. Whatever it was for!

  24. riz says:

    THIS IS A BRILLIANT IDEA! I truly love it, one of the more creative things I’ve seen lately!

  25. wow this is an interesting concept. I think for smaller design firms that need an edge it could work but, i prefer the actual size to see how the garment looks when worn :/

  26. diana says:

    looks interesting on the border of scary.

  27. Roswitha says:

    I have been following your blog since i was in high-school and you always have been a source of inspiration! I love what your are doing and your style! Now, i have my own fashion blog (it is not as big as yours) => but i have 1,000 pageviews daily and 10,000 vizitors/month. It will mean the world to me, if we could link/banner exchange!
    Keep up the good work!

  28. I LOVE Theatre de la Mode 😡 they’re so inspiring and they always surprise me with some outstanding piece of art.

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