A talk with camiel van noten about our collaboration
A collection combining fashion, design and art. That’s what Lies Mertens and Camiel van Noten envisioned creating their Limited Edition. It resulted in a handbag and a series of interior objects, incorporating multiple artistic disciplines.
For Lies Mertens, fashion is inextricably linked to design, art and architecture. Her interest in those different fields triggered the idea to start collaborating with other creatives.
Lies: “I love being busy - preferably carrying out different projects at the same time. I wanted to design limited-edition collections with other people sharing a similar creative vision. The first in a row became my collaboration with Camiel.”
Camiel: “Lies saw my work when I was running a workshop at the University of Antwerp. In “The Question of Cladding”, I created tiles in function of facile cladding, in cooperation with twenty students.”
“I immediately thought: what if we use that tile’s print for the lining for a bag? It marked the beginning of our collaboration.” Although they’re active in different fields, there are a lot of similarities between both creatives.
Camiel: “To me, architecture raises a functional question: How can we create an object with as little elements as possible? How can we minimise something to that what is strictly necessary?” Lies: “That’s what Lies Mertens stands for. We want to create simple and functional handbags.” During the process, Camiel developed the pattern for the lining of the handbag, while Lies focused on the design of the bag itself. Lies: “We were both working on our own projects. Still, we took the time to constantly discuss the direction we wanted to take. At a certain point in the process, our designs came together. My work is always inspired by other people, in this case Camiel. Another aspect of my handbags is that they should always be practical. The result is a big shopper you can wear both in your hand and swung over your shoulder.”
During a weekend in London, where Camiel at that time lived, Lies learned to produce Camiel’s tiles. Camiel: “The tiles are created out of gypsum we cast into a mould, to which we add pigments to obtain the desired colour. You’re unable to control the eventual patterns that will adorn the tiles. If the gypsum is still liquid during the casting process, you’ll have another outcome than when it’s more hardened. The material determines the result, and letting go of control is therefore the essence of the process.” Lies: “I wasn’t very good at creating the tiles, but it was nice to take part in the process and discover which colours worked and which didn’t. I think we made fifty samples to find the perfect colour.”
“The material determines the result, and letting go of control is therefore the essence of the process.”
Camiel wasn’t only responsible for the inside of the bag. He also created two corresponding interior objects in collaboration with Angèl Solanellas, who he shares an architectural office with.
Camiel: “In the lining, you can notice a circle and a triangle. They refer to the top and legs of the side table. By combining simple shapes, an interesting pattern arises. It shows how an object can be transformed into art.”
“By working together with other creatives, I ultimately hope to breach the boundaries between fashion and art.
Camiel: “This collaboration proves that people from different artistic disciplines can create interesting collections together.”
Lies: “By working together with other creatives, I ultimately hope to breach the boundaries between fashion and art. Although my handbags are mainly functional objects, I want to show with my limited edition collections that fashion can be a form of art.”