‘Each morning in every family, men, women and children, if they have nothing better to do, tell each other their dreams. We are all at the mercy of the dream and we owe it to ourselves to submit its powers to the waking state.’
Giulia Scalese is The Collecteur and creator of these beautiful little fashion monsters… www.giuliascalese.com @thecollecteur
Her work is the result of combining a few things: fashion, photography & manipulation. "I’ve been in love with creating still-life imagery ever since I first realized it was an option. The fashion and style developed over time while the manipulation skills have been borrowed from my day job as a retouch artist. Overall, my inspiration comes from characters. Whether I’m creating one or styling an outfit for one, that’s the general plot. The Collecteur is my character.” 👀
Styling credits from top to bottom:
Clutch Diane von Furstenburg , Shoes Chiara Ferragni Collection
Clutch Fendi , Boot Charlotte Olympia
Hairband Valentino , Sunglasses Ray-Ban , Clutch Charlotte Olympia
Beanie Markus Lupfer , Sunglasses House of Holland , Ear Cuff Ryan Storer , Bracelet Balenciaga
Shoes Pierre Hardy , Purse 3.1 Philip Lim , Bracelet Valentino , Spike Earrings Nasty Gal
Gloves Stella McCartney , Clutch Charlotte Olympia , Purse Charlotte Olympia
Some people say that to tap into creativity, you have to think more like a child. That adults needs to cast their minds back to a time when responsibilities and societal burdens were colorful ideas, musings and fantasies instead. To a time of excitement, curiosity and zero inhibitions.
This was definitely the case for Jacqui Fink. The textile connoisseur was first taught to knit and purl as a child, but later forgot her hobby as life of study, a legal career and motherhood naturally took over.
It wasn’t until personal tragedy almost struck in 2012, however, that Fink was drawn back to her beloved childhood pastime after experiencing an intense and powerful dream. Five years later, the creativity that sat dormant within her is now expressed through wonderfully imaginative, over sized knitted works of art, courtesy of her label Little Dandelion.
Pan & The Dream was privileged to experience Fink’s fearless craftsmanship during a recent shoot when she created trademark sculptural pieces just for us. With no formal training and no patterns, she proves that the little child within can be an endless source of vision and originality.
Let’s start at the beginning. When did you first become interested in textiles? My mum made a lot of my clothes when I was young, so we frequently spent Saturday mornings in the local fabric store. I loved handling the different fabrics and getting an impression of the various textures. I also loved the smell. Linen and flannel were, and still are, my favorite fabrics. Mum taught me to sew and I also studied textile design at high school, but nothing beyond that.
What about knitting? Has it always been part of your life? My mum is a prolific knitter and taught me how to knit as a child. I noticed it was a beautiful respite, but I didn’t commit to learning the language of knitting so I have never read a pattern. I did a lot of straight knitting as a child, so nothing complicated, but I was very particular about getting my tension correct and making every stitch exactly the same.
What did you do before Little Dandelion? I studied law at Bond University [on the Gold Coast, Australia] where I met my husband Eric. I followed Eric to Sydney and practiced law for a few years before joining him in his fashion retail business. I worked diligently but without any sense of accomplishment, and then had three children in a short space of time. While it was my choice to be at home [to care for them], my yearning to create something for myself intensified during this time.
So how did that yearning evolve into what we see today? I returned to knitting in the aftermath of my Mum’s life-saving double lung transplant in November 2009. I had been searching for something to call my own and Mum’s near-death experience was transformative for me. The weeks that followed were a very surreal time and I found myself occupying a very different emotional space.
During this time I had a very powerful dream in which a big loud booming voice told me I had to knit blankets and that the knitting need to be big. The dream was as profound as it was mysterious and I didn’t dare question it. It took two years of intense experimentation and many mistakes, but I eventually launched the business in April 2012 and haven’t looked back since.
Where did the name ‘Little Dandelion’ come from? [Again, from when] Mum was in the final stages of a terminal lung disease. As I flew north to say my goodbyes, my husband and second child walked around [Bondi’s] Sculptures by the Sea trying to keep their minds off the sad drama unfolding.
My little fella found a dandelion, picked it up, blew and made a wish as the tendrils floated away. He said, “Dad, will my wish come true?” My husband answered, “If it is a heartfelt wish, it will come true.” “Oh good”, said my little fella, “because I’ve just wished for Nan to get new lungs.” About 12 hours later she did! Dandelions have since held a very special place in the heart of my family, so I new I wanted to use “dandelion” in my business name in some way. I kept tossing around a few possibilities but nothing resonated [as much] with me.
You’ve been described you as an ‘extreme knitter’. Just how extreme are you? I suspect the “extreme” refers to the scale of my work, but it could also refer to the feat of physical endurance my work represents. I knit nearly everyday in hourly bursts otherwise everything starts to hurt if I don’t get up and move around. However, it’s not unusual for me to knit up to six to eight hours in a day.
It is said you use “knitting needles on steroids”. Can you explain why? My needles are 48mm in diameter and one meter in length, so they are a bit bonkers. Knitting on this scale is very physical work as it involves a lot of weight bearing and movement. I get really tired because it is like an all day work out. But, I love it madly.
Let’s talk a bit about your amazing creations. What is your design aesthetic? For Little Dandelion, my preference is for a natural colour palette, soft muted tones, simple but well resolved design and meticulous construction.
How long would it take you to design something before the knitting process begins? In the case of new work, inspiration normally finds me via a dream, in the shower or while I’m driving. I’ll usually mull it over for a few days and do some problem solving in my head before I’ll commit to purchasing materials. I don’t draw anything because I’m terrible at it. I’ll just hold the idea in my mind and work from that imprint.
I don’t have any technical training and so I learn by doing. This lack of know-how has actually been a blessing because I am not aware of what is not possible. I just work at things and find a way to make it possible.
You create everything from scarves to beautiful big blankets. How long does each piece take? It varies. My woollies take a minimum of 30 hours, but that doesn’t include felting or drying time. That adds days to the process. The quickest piece to make is one of my over sized soft vessels; they take about four hours.
What are your favorite fabrics to work with? My main focus is on Australian and New Zealand unspun merino wool from naturally coloured sheep. I also use felting batts for some pieces as well as cotton rope and plumber’s hemp.
You created these beautiful fashion pieces for Pan. Does this mean you’re branching out into clothing? I adore fashion but I am definitely not a fashion designer in any sense of the word. In fact, I had never knitted clothing before the shoot. I literally made up the pattern as I went along. There was a lot of trial and error. I had to make the pieces several times before I got the result I was after. The pieces have been made especially for the shoot and I’m not about to go into the world of fashion design any time soon. I’d rather play to my strengths.
The pieces have all been knitted with variations of my new Little Dandelion yarn, [which is] launching soon. The shoot provided the perfect platform to showcase the utter beauty of wool particularly on such a large scale. I love creating pieces that defy the expectations of others and using such a large-scale yarn for wearable fashion does just that.
Is most on your work custom made or can your pieces be purchased? Most is by way of custom order where I work directly with my clients to create something specific to their needs and aesthetic. However, I am soon to launch an online shop where customers can purchase a small range of ready-made pieces, from blankets and throws to my over sized soft vessels, wall hangings and scarves. All those pieces take a great deal of time to make, so the online shop will never be populated with a large amount of work.
What five words best describe you? Determined, curious, strong, sincere and empathetic.
How has your family helped to shape the business? My children were integral to my desire to create something for myself. I wanted to show them that you can make something from nothing through vision, dedication and hard work. A few months after launching Little Dandelion in 2012, my eldest son said to me, “Wow Mum, you are actually doing what you said you would do.” That was a wonderful moment and powerful reminder of how impressionable children are.
What is next for you?
Where will Little Dandelion go in the future? As mentioned, I’m about to launch my own large scale knitting yarn together with knitting needles so that I can share what I do with others. I also want to focus on doing more large-scale installation works. I love pushing the boundaries of what I can physically produce with beautiful natural fibers and my bear hands. I have a few wonderful collaborations lined up with some of my favorite makers so stay tuned for more information. www.littledandelion.com
Sushi, Onigiri, Maki, Nigiri, dumplings and even desert!
Pan has a total craving for this new fun earring label ICHI KNEE
Take a look at the menu selection but be warned, one taste and you’ll be left wanting for more! www.ichiknee.com
Ichi: Are your earrings sold as a pair? Knee: The earrings are sold individually, so you can mix and match (perhaps you want dinner and then a dessert?) Of course you can buy a pair though, just add 2 to your cart!
Uniqlo launches it’s second collaboration with Ines de la Fressange for Fall / Winter 14/15.
Based on last season’s immense success, they have increased the number of pieces, thus creating the essential wardrobe for winter.
Two distinct collections have been created.
Petite Parisienne: This line of playful items of everyday wear has been inspired by work uniforms and vintage clothing. Essential outerwear that can be easily mixed and matched, the Petite Parisienne line has been given Ines’ characteristic lighthearted touch. Fabrics such as tweeds, corduroys, and flannel shirts have been created with a stylish design and finish.
Note Parisienne: Black is the color of elegance, and together with Ines, Uniqlo has created a line of clothes only in black. These items radiate an elegant spirit, such as a black tuxedo jacket and a velvet jacket as well as the classic ‘Petite Robe Noire’ (The LBD).
Ines is a true Parisian icon and her natural elegance is the epitome of French chic. With Uniqlo, she has created true covetable STYLE.
Who doesn’t like a good LOVER? PAN certainly does!
Season after season, the label’s trademark exquisite lace pieces have made this LOVER somewhat irresistible. This season, the gentle lace is teamed back with some (buttery soft) tough leather for that perfect combination of feminine / masculine and vintage / modern appeal…
We gave our two LOVER girls Rachel MacKnight and Nikita a look that seems plucked straight out of a catalogue from a past era yet combines a little 70’s, 80’s and 90’s all mixed together for a thoroughly timeless effect.