We all have items of clothing in our wardrobes that we reserve for specific locations and settings; an extravagant flowy dress fit only for poolside glamour; an oversized chunky knitted jumper meant to be worn by the campfire in the countryside; a power suit reserved for important meetings in the city. These pieces can transform us and evolve our character.
Our lives play out to a backdrop of changing places – no two places are the same; each setting has its own story. The fact that fashion exists in seasons is contradictory to how we live. In a contemporary context, clothes are a means of expression, both of who we are and where we are going. The essence of this does not change several times a year.
At FRANCON, we design and develop womenswear collections that correspond to specific situations, spaces, places, and the moods they evoke. An emphasis on space instead of the season is vital in our design exploration. Changing settings informs our intuition on what to wear; it is a dialogue between the self and the place.
Being in a metropolitan city feels different from being in the countryside. Standing in a New York City skyscraper evokes a different awareness than what we experience in a Florentine palazzo. These nuances in perception and consequent behaviour are the key themes in our design process. From the practical luxury of a chalet to the festive exuberance of a lake house, each one evokes and encapsulates a distinct and pleasurable way of living.
We bring architecturally inspired dressing with collections based on archetypal buildings. Each design is defined by the lifestyle, behaviour and culture of its architectural namesake. Think like an architect, but make it fashion. Architects work in particular contexts for particular users. Who will use it and for what purpose, and how does it relate and contribute to the existing environment? At FRANCON we operate similarly, trying to break out of the usual fashion cycle.
Fashion is viewed through context and interaction. We assume the place and the occasion and let it define what to wear. That is why we came up with narratives based on archetypes: the lake house, the tower, the cabin, the chalet and the palazzo.
For FRANCON‘s debut collection, we had a very specific and personal setting in mind: our lake house in the south of the Netherlands. We thought about what being there means to us and what we do in a day. What kind of activities do we participate in, and how does this location make us feel? Are we in a very private or in a public space, or a mix of the two? Who do we spend our precious free time with? How often do we change clothes, and for what reason? Is it purely functional or also representational or emotional? Is this space formal or informal?
Existing between realities, the lake house usually comes in the form of a villa or house set on a private property on a lake. The expansiveness of both the lake and the plains around it contradicts the private spaces of the enclosed garden and the house itself. The tension between two seemingly opposing dichotomies disappears as we stand at the lake‘s edge and feel its expansiveness as our own. It is a place we can call home even though we are guests in nature. A space of discovery and relaxation, both familiar and new. There is a sense of liberal comfort in the lake house, a place free from strict rules and etiquette. It is where friends and family come together, where lively social gatherings interweave with moments of quiet contemplation.
In the lake house, I dress differently than in the city. I change multiple times a day, and sometimes I want to show off a little more than when I am in the office.
The lake house edition has a luxurious yet pyjama-like feel. In the cabin, you may wear the same garment for three days in a row, pieces must be easy to wash, and you probably need more layers. Or you might be out and about in the city, wearing one look from morning to evening and quickly switching accessories for dinner. All those individual pieces of clothing together ultimately form an oeuvre, a collection of styles. The houses signify certain lifestyles. And in the end, one dresses accordingly to the space.