Some see fashion as a minimal means to an end and naught else; others view it as a way to gain respect by choosing on-trend items to impress friends and colleagues. And then, you have creative masters of the craft, that use fashion as a liberating form of escapism – and a gateway into a whole other dimension. These are the kinds of designers & creative souls that I admire and strive to be like, as in a world that often channels minimalism to the masses, I’ve only come across a handful of fashion brands that are truly maximalist in their creations.
The latest addition to my carefully-chosen list of magical, out-there labels, the mythological-name-inspired NYMPHA, has shown a lot of promise despite having just recently emerged; one of their first collection garments – an edgy, block-coloured biker jacket with black leather inserts – was worn by Rita Ora during an X Factor Finals performance, and the brand is already making waves – having enjoyed several editorial features in just a short space of time. NYMPHA’s debut collection, entitled ‘Underwater Love’, is the aquatic creation of the East London label’s female design trio (Erika Dark, Kai Suede and W’Eve ), and perfectly showcases the mix of fantasy and real-life, hardcore rebellion that NYMPHA has lined up to become their signature:
It’s evident from the very first taster of this mermaid-influenced collection that the NYMPHA girls seriously have a more-is-more design ethos going for them, and clash colours and textures in a way that I wish more designers expressed: crystal-embellished leather skirts & silky jacket-coats are paired with studded suspenders and strategically-placed oyster shells; sequinned bralets and bustiers that look as if they’re made of kaleidoscopic fish scales are sported proudly alongside jewel-encrusted shorts and chain-embellished, denim jackets. Each garment is named aptly, and even standalone tells a story – from the Ariel Jaws denim shorts (worn by a model with such similar tresses to the Little Mermaid, she could easily be her grown-up, bad-girl counterpart) to the dreamily-dyed Shipwreck jacket (that has a serious nautical vibe from the compass print painted on its back). There’s an amazing attention to detail throughout each piece – vintage leather jackets hand-painted with seashells and the ominous form of Medusa being just one example. The dark, underlying edge that the clothes present hasn’t just been left to chance; Underwater Love’s true inspiration lies in its mystical backstory, which tells the tale of three self-enchanted girls who become cursed for their ways and are then transformed into mermaids, binded when they unsuspectingly dive into an enticing pool of crystal-clear water…
Refreshingly, the label’s unique-looking jackets look awesome styled on men also, and shows how their creations really can be channeled to the masses. As I mentioned above, I’m definitely a maximal kind of girl in my fashion tastes and what I like visually, but my day-to-day style does generally revolve around colourful twists rather than top-to-toe extravagance; so if the copious amounts of colour, bright fabrics and paillettes seem too much for you to handle, just remember that even a small dose of NYMPHA’s uber-cool pieces in your wardrobe can create something truly special to behold:
Take, for a prime example, this Nympha in Paris photoshoot, shot in the aforementioned city by Marguerite Lorraine. The NYMPHA embellished lace bralet still sparks major appeal when worn, but toned down with some chic, tailored pieces gives the whole look a rather sophisticated & elegant vibe. The general outfit consensus definitely isn’t out-there, but the bralet certainly lifts the look and garners it some individuality (I daresay that without it, the garments really wouldn’t make any impact walking down the street). Needless to say, for appreciating the full NYMPHA experience you’d be drawn to a more extroverted pairing of clothes, but even still, letting one piece really do the talking shows how versatile a label NYMPHA truly is.
You can visit NYMPHA’s website for full details regarding the brand “here”, where you’ll be catapulted into the label’s aquatic experience from the very first click, the intro’s dark oceanic setting and echoed whispers of the brand’s name playing in your ear, as if to beckon you in further (really setting the dangerously beautiful theme that resonates through the collection, in my opinion – after all, mermaids in legend are considered to be both mesmerising and menacing). You can view the rest of Underwater Love’s looks “here”: my favourites (that I haven’t already shown you) are the Swim By Me bralet, Naked Siren tuxedo jacket (back view “here”), Shinny Shark skirt and Venus In Shell skirt (how could you deny hand-painted & embellished leather?! Never seen anything like it!) – and you can see the garments in action via UL’s two awe-striking visual films, which I’ll include below; the first one giving a taste of the collection shots interspersed with moving clips & images that hark back to the ever-present dark mermaid reference:
The second one, meanwhile, is entitled “Expelled from the Sea” and stars some foreboding-looking figures clad in NYMPHA pieces, looking like defiant troublemakers banished to the overworld – specifically, an urban environment – yet still unwavering in their confidence and piercing gazes. Check it out here:
NYMPHA are currently working on their next collection, which is set to debut very soon – you can follow them on Facebook or Twitter for any updates but, obviously, I’ll be sure to share any released info via La Femme Éclectique’s FB or Twitter account (and I do update often, especially tweeting) so follow me if you haven’t already!
Ultimately, it’s NYMPHA’s vibrant spirit and unique ethos that will make the shouts of the label and its fans heard over the mass chorus of designers trying to make it big in London & beyond – and I’ve no doubt those beckoning calls will weave just as enchanting a spell as any bonafide mermaid could hope to achieve. ♥