The horror film-inspired fashion storyteller.
From the 10th Birthday Issue of Wonderland.
Dress by MIMI WADE
“Pop-y and kitsch” is how London fashion designer Mimi Wade describes her work. Marrying fine leather, fur and lace with intricately hand-painted scenes from 50s horror films, Wade uproots classic ideas of glamour while playing into stereotypes of hysterical movie heroines. “I love old movie posters, they feel like a bit of a lost art,” she observes. “My grandma’s got a really fab collection of them, which I basically wanted to steal and wear somehow.”
For her Saint Martins graduate collection, Creature From the Black Lagoon, emblazoned dresses matched outlandishly luxurious candyfloss pink fox and mink stole. Lace slips peeking out from weeny leather dresses with ragged hems, you can practically hear the melodrama from just looking at them. “I’m not someone who thinks much about silhouette or pattern-cutting,” she explains. “I’m much more interested in print.” And print is exactly what’s interesting about Wade. Growing up in Gloucestershire (where “everyone wore leggings and pony club jumpers”), she took inspiration from the bold-printed 80s fashion her mum wore – think pilfered Vivienne Westwood and Christian Lacroix.
As far as her personal styles goes, she admits she “still wears a lot of the clothes I had when I was 11– Miss Sixty, Fiorucci T-shirts. I haven’t changed much.” It was only after leaving school and completing a fine art and fashion foundation course that Wade realised her love for fashion design. “I loved drawing and painting and always wanted to go to art school,” she tells me. “But on foundation, I really felt like there was a lot more of a drawing aspect to fashion. We had life-drawing classes every couple of weeks and there was more of an emphasis on sketchbooks.” Fast-forward a couple of years and Wade’s on the cusp of becoming one of London’s brightest young things. She describes her muse as “funny, resilient, brave and quite feminine.” Oh, and “not too serious,” she laughs. Sounds like the perfect pin-up.
Photography: Masha Mel
Fashion: Nicco Torelli
Makeup: Naomi T. Dakuzaku
Hair: Nick Irwin at The London Style Agency
Words: Bertie Brandes