‘The Anatomy of Melancholy’ was my final degree project and I was chosen to show the collection at Graduate Fashion Week 2010. The collection was inspired by Charlie Chaplin’s iconic character, ‘The Little Tramp’. After watching films such as ‘The Kid’ and ‘Modern Times’, it struck me that the silhouette of the Tramp’s costume was surprisingly innovational, and could be translated into something very contemporary. The proportions of the costume are very bizarre; the jacket is short and tight across the chest, and appears to have been adjusted at unusual places. There are no side-seams or darts and it has a small collar and short, narrow lapels. The single back vent opens out into an exaggerated ‘V’ shape and the sleeves are cropped to just above the wrist. The trousers are obviously intended for a much larger man, and have been belted in at the waist to form irregular pleats. They are voluminous at the hip then taper narrow at the ankles.
This silhouette was the starting point of the collection and provided me with the challenge of producing garments with as few seams as possible and virtually no darts. The trousers were cut from a single piece and the jackets featured no traditional side-seams or shoulder seams, giving a seamless, contemporary finish to the garments. However, another aspect of Chaplin’s films that struck me was the contrast between comedy and melancholy; the films are at times very dark. And so I decided that the atmosphere of the collection should be very melancholic, and took the title from Richard Burton’s ‘The Anatomy of Melancholy’. This is reflected in the somber colour palette and also in the prints. I painted stripes dripping into each other in oils, and then digitally printed cotton jersey for t-shirts and viscose linings for jackets with digital scans of the paintings. The collection comprised of six outfits and included a variety of shirts, tailoring, knitwear and jersey t-shirts.