Above: Megan Alice Bouwer's "Farewell Sébastien"
For his farewell season at the helm of the esteemed house of Ann Demeulemeester, artistic director Sébastien Meunier offered us "The Unicorn" - his final collection. Inspired by the famed tale of Mary, Queen of Scots, as told by avant-garde stage director Robert Wilson, it was a collection as rich in layers of folkloric allusion as in its deep colours and velvety textures.
To celebrate his parting masterwork, Dilettante commissioned our intern, resident artist, and budding fashion maven Megan Alice Bouwer to interpret the collection in a series of oil paintings.
Dilettante's director, Diana, took a few minutes to chat with Megan to discuss her thoughts on fashion, art, and the future.
Above left: Megan wears gold and mustard blouse by Ann Demeulemeester.
Above right: Megan wears pinstripe blazer, trousers and printed tee by Ann Demeulemeester. Styled with Rick Owens chelsea boots.
Diana: What inspired you to study Fashion and textile design, post high school?
Megan: My motivation has always been artistic in nature, I feel like I was drawn to study fashion because I see it as an entirely practical means of artistic expression. Fashion is a universal language, the idea that one could assist in a persons journey of identity, allowing them to be comfortable and find expression in dress, resonates with me.
I've noticed that you are drawn to designers whose collections show history or embellishment in their textiles. What is it that you like about this aesthetic?
Studying fashion myself has offered me so much insight and appreciation for the craftsmanship and tentative consideration that goes into designing. I really believe that drawing on historical influences can add layers of depth to design. To me there is also so much feeling tied up in history. In my own designs I would like to evoke such feeling in a person, looking to the past seems like a good place to start.
I have always had a place in my heart for things that show age, as they tell a story. Perhaps this is also to do with the fact that my father has always loved antiques and instilled this appreciation in me.
I really find it fascinating that a certain textile or silhouette can pay homage to another point in history. I love the idea that a garment could be a nod to the past.
Above left: Megan wears gold satin dress by Ann Demeulemeester.
Above right: Megan Alice Bouwer's "Mary, Mary"
You're quite the talented oil painter. What do you like to paint and how did you find the process of creating these Ann Demeuelemeester paintings for Dilettante?
I suppose I tend to lean more towards portraiture and still lifes as subject matter.
These portraits of the Ann Demeulemeester SS20/21 collection were really a delight to paint. It was lovely to bring together two areas of interest for me. I did feel responsibility however to approach these portraits with respect for the original story that the designer has chosen to tell.
Ann Demeulemeester to me is such a brilliant storyteller; the inspiration and theme behind each collection is so clearly communicated, almost tangible. I found the references to the mythology of the unicorn, symbolic of luck, hope and innocence to be quite beautiful.
Above: Megan wears silk top by Ann Demeulemeester. Styled with rings by Rosa Maria and earrings by Jean-François Mimilla.
I hope you're enjoying interning at Dilettante. We love having you here. I'm curious to know if it has altered your perspective of the world of fashion?
Thank you! I am definitely so delighted to be able to work with Dilettante. It has been especially valuable to learn about the fabrications that many designers are experimenting with, which is inspiring to me as a student. I would say that my perspective has certainly been changed, I am now more conscious of what the average person seeks within a garment. It is so interesting to gauge in real time how designs travel from the design house to the storefront of Dilettante.
Above left: Megan wears long cotton shirt, trousers, and signature feather necklace by Ann Demeulemeester. Shoes by Atelier Inscrire and hat by Der Antagonist.
Above right: Megan Alice Bouwer's "Oh Queen of Scots"
Do you think that social media is important for your generation? How do you use it yourself?
It has become so ingrained into our lives.
Personally I see it as a great tool to build an artistic presence and portfolio. Social media also makes the fashion world accessible and aids my own ideation process as an archive. I do still make a point of not centering my daily life around it. In regards to online shopping through social media, I am neither here nor there. I do however believe that there is nothing better than the real thing.
Above: Megan wears brown crushed silk dress by Ann Demeuelemeester with earrings by Atelier Inscrire. Magritte wears his own feathers.
What do you hope to do once you finish studying?
I hope to travel and find inspiration, possibly looking to pursue an internship at a fashion house. It is high up on my list to develop my skills as a designer with my own label. My passion for painting will also be something I would like to build on.
Megan Alice Bouwer's works will be on display at Dilettante from Thursday 8th October, and are available to purchase, fully framed, for $990 each. For sales enquiries, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or phone (08) 9383 2820.
You can follow Megan's work at @meganalicebouwer