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Building A Reputation: Melissa Diamantidi

Tired of floaty frocks and barely-there bikinis? Meet our favourite architecturally influenced A/W 2011 collection

Written by . Published on August 10th 2011.

Building A Reputation: Melissa Diamantidi

WHAT does a building have in common with a dress? The answer is Melissa Dimantidi. The designer’s latest collection is the fruit of an unconventional source of creative diversification: bricks and mortar. Intrigued? Then read on.      

It’s August. In real terms that means praying for some London sunshine if you’re stuck in the concrete jungle, or scouting out your sunscreen and passport if you’re making for more exotic climbs. The fashion world, however, dances to it’s own beat. When it comes to all things sartorial, ‘autumn’ is the word on everyone’s lips. Catwalks of the most recently bygone fashion weeks were awash with the latest knits, coats and trimmings of the heavier variety as designers turn their attention to the coming season. Diamantidi is no exception.  So, as we approach the time when the leaves start to fall and the style stakes rise, allow us to showcase some fresh new thinking.

Having cut her teeth with a placement at Roland Mouret, it follows that Diamanditi’s own label masters the art of flattery through simplicity.

Melissa Diamantidi Aw11-43Diamantidi is inspired, in both senses of the word. Her A/W 2011 collection grew from a series of prints and cuts based on architectural drawings. Sparse, bold linearity is juxtaposed against a softer, drapey femininity through the clever combination of textile and cut. “Fashion designers, have to have a spatial way of thinking like architects,” she says. “They ultimately translate a two dimensional material [the fabric] into a three dimensional form [the body-shaped garment]. When material surrounds the human body, it becomes a three dimensional form which has its own space as well.” The upshot is a collection which will have even the most die-hard of sun worshipers waiting for the mercury to drop enough to enjoy the leather jackets, tweedy dresses and silky shirts that the line comprises. All are cut with the cleanest of tailoring and that elegant simplicity that pays homage to her current love affair with architecture and, she says, defines the brand.

Melissa Diamantidi Aw11-27“I always design with the objective to encompass versatility and timeless silhouettes, reworked with a contemporary twist and sense of individuality,” she continues. Having cut her teeth with a placement at Roland Mouret, it follows that Diamanditi’s own label masters the art of flattery through simplicity.

The structural elements of her architectural inspiration lend themselves very well to the female form, translating into pieces, which pack maximum wearability. Her knee-length, plum-coloured dress, nipped in at the waist and tubular, yet adorned with graceful, pocket-like folds has the kind of quietly sexy poise that gets many a sophisticate swooning. Much like the work of a good architect can transform otherwise mundane materials into something breathtaking, Dimantidi’s method equates to garments with a form-enhancing confidence that the style-savvy can spot a mile off. Such is the case with the collection’s boxy leather jacket and peg-leg trouser combinations. Cuffless, and tapered in all the right places, their go-to effortlessness could easily form the basis of a capsule wardrobe.

Melissa Diamantidi Aw11-29As well as form, fabric also plays its role in the designer’s arsenal.  “[The fabric’s] quality, composition and feel is for me, often the starting point. They drive the development end evolution of a collection as they reveal their true potential and are manipulated to create new shapes and forms,” she explains. This philosophy is evident a handful of garments in the collection. Edgy and polished, one coat-dress is a surefire stand out piece. Around two thirds black textile, topped with bust and shoulders of matching leather paneling, it’s a-line simplicity coupled with the tough-girl appeal of the leather, strikes just the right balance of casual verses luxe. Finish the look with skin tight, no-nonsense trousers and a pair of ankle boots (fashion’s new favorite length) and you’ll be more than set for the changing of the season.

With her new online shop soon to be launched and a plethora of other stockists in the offing, keep an eye on her website, as well as the weather forecast. 

Oh autumn leaves, where art thou?


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AnonymousAugust 29th 2011.

they dont look good. Maybe its the model or something but the clothes suck donkey nuts.

Casey GillespieAugust 30th 2011.

Hello anonymous,

While your comment was well thought out and insightful (“the clothes suck donkey nuts”), after working in fashion for 10 years, I can assure you that this designer is actually incredibly talented. Perhaps you have a favourite designer we could profile?

Henry The GoodAugust 30th 2011.

Anon, the model is the model, she is a great clothes hanger and the pieces are remarkable. Those LBD's are stunning. There seems something bitter about your comments, although you do show a maturity with your prose which belies your 13 years on the planet.

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