Backward-looking and clinging to past success, that was the trenchant final verdict passed on the past Paris Fashion Week by fashion editor Cécile Narinx, never one to mince words. And fair enough, right now, old fashioned is fashionable. But is that so bad?
Is it not, perhaps, a promising sign of a new attitude to fashion, one which puts a premium on sustainable craftmanship? One which recognizes that success as a label or a designer does not depend on launching a whole new collection every six months, as Monique van Heist wondered back in 2012. For if anyone understands what is involved in increasing the lifespan of clothes, Monique does.
The past few years she has experimented whether, how, and why people keep interest in the same pieces of clothing. A decade on and safe to say her Hello Fashion experiment has been a success. Conclusion? It takes, first, a good design as the basis and, second, enough variation in colour, print and material. The result? A highly sought-after core oeuvre of coats, trousers, shirts, and T-shirts and a renowned design of leggings which have been a guaranteed hit a few years running.
Now, we are very fond of Monique, and Monique – it seems to us – is quite fond of us, as well. So, a collaboration was really only a matter of time, if none the less extraordinary. Monique generously allowed us to pick and choose our favourite patterns and fabrics, and she even listened to our suggestions for the design. Very exciting!
‘I want to experience the fit myself, whether it is really comfortable’.
Monique van Heist
The Monique van Heist x Soul-Sister collection consists of five unique pieces which, as you would expect, will work wondrously well in every wardrobe.
These are five pieces from previous collections, five pieces which have proven their worth and deserve to be returned to. Above all, however, these are five pieces that are just a joy to wear. To top it off, the collection contains an oversized cotton bag with smart handles that is big enough to hold all the five pieces. If you were so inclined.
A special collection like this requires a photo shoot on a special lccation. And we found it. All items were photographed in an old house on the Veluwe. The house from 1959 was being rebuilt at the time and had just the right atmosphere. The Monique van Heist X Soul-Sister collection felt at home, so to speak.
The justly famed Monique van Heist leggings – by now well into their teenage years – continue to be a success. The design has been given a slight touch-up in the form of a nifty zipper at the bottom of the leg.
When the Flirt S was launched back in 2008, it was clear that this was going to be one of those pieces we’d be wearing for years to come. This wide neck T-shirt has slim short sleeves and a comfortable fit.
Of the same vintage as the Flirt S, and an absolute essential in its own right, is the taller Flirt L. A dress rather than a T-shirt, she is nonetheless almost as versatile.
A solid design can last a long time, discovered Monique van Heist, if produced in changing colours, prints and materials. One of those designs for which this mantra holds especially, is the Overall, dating from 2009. Monique wears it herself during the shoot, because ‘I want to experience the fit myself, whether it is really comfortable’.
Monique van Heist does not do shows. At least, not any more, because when she was still making a name for herself, back in 2005, she did a show at the Amsterdam Fashion Week. It featured this Bodywarmer design, here made from soft nappa leather.
The cherry on top is a new design special to this collection: an oversized cotton bag with an equally oversized print. Good to know, the word JA! (‘YES!’ in Dutch) was handwritten by Monique and the bag was put together in her own studio. And a screen printing factory in Tilburg has manually printed the print with waterbased ink.