18 November 2015

QUT Fashion Graduates 2015: Felicia Balsategui 'Chimera'

Words: Saskia Edwards
Images: Jonathan Rae
Model: Lilly at Vivien's

In Felicia Balsategui’s work, you’re transported to a dreamy futuristic wonderland. ‘Chimera’ is littered with brands of 2015 internet culture like vaporware prints, bright colour and insta-geneic styling. The word Chimera references ancient Greek mythology where a creature is comprised of the parts of more than one animal. And Felicia’s collection is equal parts vividity, futurism and fun. I had a chat to her about it.

SE: What does your collection look like?

FB: So I guess you could say it’s almost as if it’s like Harajuku girls went into space. It’s quite girly and kitsch, but I’ve tried to keep it cool and street-style like at the same time.

SE: Why did you decide to do that?

FB: Well initially I was lost for ideas, so I just went and looked at some magazines and I was really intrigued by Japanese Vogue. Because I was looking at your normal Australia Vogue and British Vogue and I just found it to be a bit same same, but then when I looked at Japanese Vogue, their photoshoots - like it’s high fashion but it’s fun. And I really like working with colour, so I think that started the inspiration. And then just through research, I looked at surrealism a bit and liked the idea of making something fun based on surrealism but obviously it’s just about it being creative and super fun.

SE: Is that something you admire about the Japanese aesthetic? I mean, people like Rei Kawakubo and Yohji Yamamoto really pushed the boundaries of RTW fashion. Is that something you admire?

FB: Definitely. I love the fact that something can be considered high fashion, but it’s fun and colourful, but also artistic, but you can wear it. Ultimately, I think it’s nice that you can make something, but I want people to be able to wear it as well, like use it as a form of self  expression for themselves. 

SE: So three years ago, when you started out in your degree, did you think you’d produce anything like this?

FB: Oh my god, no, not at all, no way. Initially I remember thinking about my collections before this all started and it was very much, I think the idea was a lot more simple and the colours were a lot more muted and pale. And then I don’t know what happened, but I think doing that little bit of research... and I think my aesthetic changed slightly. Like I was more excited to create something a bit more poppy. 

SE: What kind of materials did you use?

FB: One of the materials that I used is actually... technically called from Spotlight ‘Fairy Organza’ and it’s this really sheer, cheap, shiny fabric. It’s kind of purple. I’ve used it in different ways in quilting and layering. [I like] taking this cheap, plasticy fabric and making it into something a bit more high fashion. And then I’ve created my own print using think like Kodak squares and scanning things in.

SE: What do you want to do once you graduate?

FB: Ooh, this question! I guess I’m not too sure. Ultimately I’m looking to get more into styling and creative direction.

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