BERLIN DESIGN DUO:
Jennifer Gilpin & Kyle Callanan
"Leather is grown not made. It is skin. We feel naturally connected to it," declares Canadian-born and Berlin-based Jennifer Gilpin of the design duo Don't Shoot the Messengers. With her partner, fashion and costume designer Kyle Callanan, Gilpin focuses on supple geometrically-cut leather dresses and skirts. The team began their collaboration after Gilpin's travels in Morocco inspired her interest in the sensual qualities of leather. Originally called Garter & Asp, an appellation merging a harmless snake with one that is lethally poisonous, the line aimed to create elegant yet subversively sexy feminine garments. "There is a sort of darkness that we look at," says Gilpin. "Our aesthetic comes from an undefined place, yet we both seek to define it and rein it in. We look at development of a feeling, a world for each collection, not necessarily restrained by the seasonal movements. Each of these worlds are linked yet separate and unique, a specific line remains that passes though each." The designers aim to incorporate other tactile material including silk and other light fabrics to complement their masterful use of leather and exotic skins such as stingray. But the focus of their line is not the materials but their artful cutting and construction based on triangular cuts and a careful adherence to the body's curves. Gilpin sums up their aesthetic as, "Geometry in relation to the body is key for us. What we want is make clothes that are molten, elegant, sexy, and just a little bit rock 'n roll."
--Ana Finel Honigman
(PHOTO BY MAXIME BALLESTEROS)