Lisa McConniffe — QEST Textile Artist
This year I wanted to question “What is a Modern Day Accessory?”
There’s much to say about accessories as a young designer based in London. I wanted to create my own world with an aesthetic that focuses on colour, beauty, pop, surrealism, and cosmetics. A collection that speaks to a generation of girls, who, similar to me want to explore the idea of pushing alternatives to the notion of traditional accessories.
First up my name is Lisa McConniffe. My latest graduate collection entitled ‘Cosmetic Chaos’ was produced during my final year at the Royal College of Art. It was a playful and experimental approach, originally inspired by characters from the 1950's lipstick inspectors, mixed with digital imagery of cosmetic spills and chewing gum.
Overall the collection has a strong ultra-feminine attitude, consisting of neon frames, over sized handles, foam textures and multi coloured lip prints (to name just few). I really wanted to push the creativity through the detail of the design, by referring back to the traditional history of bags whilst reinterpreting this in a modern way. I’ve attempted to re-imagine handbag frames by viewing the handle as a much more sculptural piece while visualising how it could be held.
The RCA collection was debuted at the stripped back Averard Hotel, curated in a static juxtaposed way. It was a balanced display exploring the full range of possibilities, from more extreme catwalk to commercially viable pieces. They were created and manufactured through a mix of plastic and leather fabrication processes, in factories based within the UK. The collection was a variety of different scales from a small bubble bean clutch to a vanity suitcase.
Shifting topics slightly … Accessories aren’t just about individual pieces; I enjoy looking at the full look and bringing my prints and vision to life through live collages. So, I designed every element of the show from the t-shirt dress to the makeup/nails and shoes. It is important to me as a designer to imagine this complete look in a commonplace setting, which is why, during the final RCA show I placed a model within the Shows audience. A bold statement which attracted the likes of Dazed magazine, Hilary Alexander and Pandemonia.
Editor’s Note: What’s next for you Lisa?
“At the moment I’m currently working on a few projects within cosmetic design, alongside collaborating with a young designer on accessories, and developing a capsule collection / creating some new accessories and apparel which will be available online via the new website next year.”