As any kid, my imagination ran wild. From garden parties, sequin dresses to stick houses, I developed a strong liking to the old fantasy story, ‘The Waterbabies’ by Charles Kingsley. I guess it was the fact that my mum had filled in the black and white pages with extraordinary watercolor drawings that made it so exciting and memorable.’The Waterbabies’ led me into a different world complete with mystical creatures. This was clearly a form of ‘escapism’…. a way of exiting reality and entering fantasy. Escapism was conveyed within the storyline as well. Tom’, the protagonist escapes his miserable job as a chimney sweeper by becoming a water creature.
Kingley’s book was core to my inspiration for my swimsuit. I felt it was appropriate to follow with a underwater theme given the brief focuses on swimwear. Kingsley wrote ‘The Waterbabies’ in 1863, a few years before the birth of famous synchronized swimmer, Annette Kellerman who revolutionized the bathing suit which also seemed ideal for the given brief.
I drew elements from the images the story would create through the words and illustrations into contemporary swimsuit versions that each conveyed a raw, natural beauty with a dark and magical edge…
and below are my final eight designs….
While it was a hard decision to narrow my designs to one, the seaweed pom pom swimsuit was a winner. Using only black wool, I knew that I needed to pick the swimsuit with the most texture and shape to attract the public eye….