Elise Gettliffe: Menswear Has Never Been This Fun

Text by Rosa Bertoli

Elise Gettliffe has yet to finish her ma at the Royal Academy in Antwerp, but her third-year collection, named “Bing Bang Boum Vlan Paf Hiiiiiiiiiiiiii” has already gained her an international following. The funny, colorful collection won the Fashion Special Prize at its, the Trieste-based contest that showcases the best new talent from all over the world.

From afar, the collection looks like a cartoon with very bold characters. Up close, the effect is more or less the same, but one gets a better sense of how much is going on behind this 27-year-old French designer’s work. “I wanted to create a graphic collection with a bi-dimensional feel,” she explains, and the result is similar to party poppers exploding with a plethora of candy-colored madness, with exaggerated shapes and puppet-like effects. The extremely low shoulders of the bold jackets were created to convey the idea of a marionette in a disproportionate disarticulation of the body. “I used foam for most of my collection,” Gettliffe says. “It’s a really fun material to work with, and there’s nothing you can’t do with it!” Lines are otherwise simple, with slim pants and Peter Pan collared gingham shirts: the garments you would expect to find in the wardrobe of a children’s TV character.

Decisively steering away from fashion “rules,” Gettliffe sees her collections in crazy photoshoots and music videos rather than in sleek boutiques and on fashionable passers-by: “I know that it will be impossible for me to create something wearable in real life!” Born in Alsace, France, Gettliffe spent her life travelling the world with her family (her father, a dancer; her mother, an artist) before enrolling at the Ecole Supérieure Des Arts Appliqués Duperré in Paris. Not happy with the conservativeness of the French capital (“that’s where designers show their collections, not where they grow,” she says), Gettliffe moved to Antwerp to attend the Royal Academy of Fine Arts. Even before completing her degree (she graduates next June), Gettliffe has already been exposed to the best fashion media through its. “I received a lot of positive feedback about my collection, and magazines contacted me for interviews and photo shoots,” she says. Needless to say, the whole fashion world is eagerly anticipating what’s next for this young French artiste. “I am now working on my final Master Collection, experimenting with melted things… I don’t know what it will look like yet!” Surprises are certainly in the cards, but one thing is sure: the collection will be over-the-top happy. As a reminder that fashion is supposed to be fun, Gettliffe says, “in my collections I want to express happiness so perfect [that] it works on you!”