The adventures of Alice in her adopted flat land. Fashion - 03 March 2015
A read through her CV is enough to make your head spin. Her collections are also a giddying experience. This former student of Munich’s Academy of Fashion and Design has been well trained, and it shows. Even if, ultimately, what makes the difference is that perfect dose of madness combined with the sheer perfection of her finishes. We meet her as she prepares for her first catwalk show, on the 3rd of March, at the Wallonia-Brussels Delegation in Paris.
Dare we say that this thirty something whose brand sounds like a rigorous and refined signature - the initial of her first name and last name in capital letters - is the perfect mix of Germanic rigor and Belgian fantasy? A little too clichéd, perhaps. Nevertheless a look back over her career path tells us that it’s true. Trained as a tailor, and then design at the Academy of Munich, in 1999 Alice Knackfuss was one of the finalists of the International Festival of Fashion and Photography in Hyères. That same year, she won the Diesel Award at the ITS#EIGHT festival in Trieste. Just the job to sprinkle some glitter on her CV and to be hired by Diesel’s menswear department.
The very first time
The very first time that this Munich native came to the attention of the Belgians was during "Les Petits Riens” fashion show. "In Hyères, I met the Belgian Simon-Pierre Toussaint. We wanted to work in tandem on a few projects, including this one, which led me to Belgium", she says. With this creator, a graduate of the Antwerp Academy, Alice designed a male capsule collection called Dearest. What happened next seemed like a natural progression. In 2012, Alice – by now based in Belgium, a country she claims to have fallen in love with – launched a.KNACKFUSS, her own brand. Her sources of inspiration are as varied as the universes present in her collections: a song, novel, an object she comes across in the street. "When I create, I draw the outline of a story. A story that is visible in my prints in particular. The rest is design. The story then becomes secondary. What counts is the wearability of the pieces, their comfort", says Alice.
A KNACK for style
The a.KNACKFUSS style is a mix of comfort and controlled strangeness. "I do not claim to create for all women", she is quick to point out. "The first person I dress, is myself". For this spring-summer collection, Alice Knackfuss was inspired by the American feminist Amelia Bloomer, a woman who completely revolutionised women's clothing. "Flower prints thrown onto pieces with sportswear cuts reflect Alice’s love of contrasts. White, black, a hint of coral and then suddenly a big pink bird crossing a sweater: "Amelia Bloomer lived in the 20s, hence the Art Deco details found in the collection, and the very Miami-like colours". As for the architected multi-pocket pieces, they remind us in passing that Alice was first trained as a tailor before she embraced creation.
And today, Paris
Since 2011, the brand a.Knackfuss is one of the signatures supported by WBDM. As part of this collaboration, in the run-up to the commercial presentation at the No Season showroom, on the 3rd of March Alice’s collection will be on the catwalk at the Wallonia-Brussels Delegation. "This first show is really a culmination, an immense pride. This is why the collection is so personal. It is strongly rooted in the 90s, my teenage years. For the show, I've chosen music that I may not listen to today, but that shaped my identity. Then it is up to everyone to come up with their own interpretation. That is also the idea of a show: to allow the public to enter my world, to take ownership of it themselves".
By Marie Honnay