Creatures of the Wind

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Oh my darling, cling to me

For we’re creatures of the wind

And wild is the wind, the wind

Wild is my love for you

 ~ Johnny Mathis

“Music is a huge influence for us,” explains Shane Gabier during their fashion workshop. “It lends a cinematic quality to life,” adds his partner, Christopher Peters. It makes sense that music drives the designers – the lines above, from the song “Wild Is the Wind”, are where they got the name for their line, Creatures of the Wind.

Gabier and Peters started their quirky and stylish line in 2007 in Chicago, where Gabier worked as a fashion design professor. Their first collection, Spring 2011, caught the attention of Barney’s, and from there the line grew in size and esteem, receiving such esteemed fashion design awards as the CFDA Vogue Fashion Fund in 2011 and the CFDA Swarovski Award for Womenswear. Now based in New York City, Shane and Christopher continue to bring their unique vision to the fashion industry.

One of the many amazing features of SCAD Lacoste are the three day intense workshops they create for the students, bringing in industry talent to interact one-on-one with students and give them a taste of what it’s like to make your passion into a real living with practical, hands on advice. The fashion students’ task, set up by The Creatures (as we call them), was to pair up and create a collection based on abstract expressions, which they had to show via various sketches and inspiration boards. As seniors, each of these students will spend the entire year working up to a final collection of their creation. This workshop acted as a boot camp on getting inspiration, figuring the individual stories they want to tell, and learning to express their ideas in physical pieces. The girls worked hard for several days in the brightly lit studio of Maison Basse, and after receiving tips and encouragement from Gabiers and Peters, presented their final sketches, taking the next step toward becoming designers themselves.

We were able to stop by the workshop and hear the sage advice of the wonderfully creative Creatures boys…

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“It’s important to work with other people – to react to what they show you, to react to their reactions of what you bring, to explore every tangent and every path to see where you go and what connects with you…that will ultimately help you make your work.”

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We attended the workshop with fashion writer Lynn Yaeger, photographing her experience in Lacoste for Vogue.com

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The workshop began with students individually creating 30 to 50 sketches, then partnering up to create a new collection from their combined ideas. As students worked together making inspiration boards for their collections, Shane and Chris gave them tips on how to take abstractions – thoughts, emotions, moods – and turn them into a cohesive physical collection.

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Beautiful, larger-than-life sketches hung around the brightly-lit studio, created by Shinekia “Shine” Thomas, the resident fashion professor at SCAD Lacoste.

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“Once images and visual inspiration are gathered and the mood of the collection is figured out, the next step is research into color and fabrics to see what will best represent the vibe.

You’re also always thinking of the show – music and lighting – so in a way you work backwards from the final presentation, figuring out things along the way.”

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The studio was located in Maison Basse, SCAD’s beautifully renovated farmhouse that had previous lives as a silkworm farm, an inn, and of course, the guesthouse and gambling den of the infamous Marquis de Sade.

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“Our hope is to keep the same core of emotional intensity for each collection that we design, but express that intensity differently, from different avenues, each season.”

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“Fashion is a commercial endeavor. Art is an individual one. As a designer you must satiate your desire to create, but you have to remove yourself from the final product – it has a life beyond you with the consumer.”

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Creatures of the Wind on: Facebook // Twitter // Instagram

All of our Provençal adventures:

SCAD Lacoste // Lacoste, France // La Residence // shopSCAD Lacoste // Kyle Ford // Beyond Lacoste // Jean Pierre Soalhat