Stella Jean For FashionABLE Haiti - “Fashion has to Make Sense”
"Haiti is the island of mysticism and painting (Malraux) and it is through painting, that this great country tells its story; its stories. And it is these stories that these clothes narrate and it is this gift that I disseminate and imprint on my fabrics. Making the history of Haiti and the art naif a wearable art, which despite its “naif” denomination has a profound theoretical corpus. It is a cheerful art even when it expresses a drama, that with simple strokes and generous colors, does not allow mystifying intermediaries".
The collection created by designer Stella Jean, "Still a Goddess" presented at Alta Roma Alta Moda in the competition “Who's on Next”, promotes and is an integrating part of the project "Fashion-Able Haiti”, organized by the Embassy of Haiti in Italy and part of the program "Fashion for Development".
"Fashionable Haiti", is a partner of the "Fashion for Development", part of the “First Ladies Gala Luncheon” will take place in NYC in a non disclosed location and will not be at the United Nations. FashionAble Haiti is a program that Fashion 4 Development supports.
Her Excellency the Ambassador of Haiti, Ms. Geri Benoit is the creator of "FashionABLE Haiti." The edition of Vogue Italy for the month of July is a special dedication to both the project and its creator. The article, in addition to being focused on the program, highlights the historical part of the Napoleonic invasion and colonization and the subsequent Haitian independence (1804).
The goal of "FashionABLE Haiti" is to boost the economy and the country’s revival through fashion. "We are working on creating Sustainable jobs": The vèvè embroidery and the naif painted on the clothes, as part of the Caribbean artistic tradition, textiles and culture, will be made on Italian fabrics by Haitian painters and embroiderers. The result is a combination of Two Excellencies on the same label: the tailoring of the "Made in Italy" which includes the design, the cutting and the packaging and the Art and Craft of the Haitian "Hand-painted & Hand-embroidered".
The project has two basic purposes:
- The first is to help the victims of the earthquake of January 12, 2010, and subsequent epidemics like deadly cholera. Rebuilding and restarting two specialties, such as painting and embroidery, distinctive of the craftsmanship economy and of Haitian 'religion'. Thus offering work and not just charity, safeguarding the dignity of a proud people.
- The second reveals the desire to start a collaboration and "constructive" dialogue between Italy & Haiti.
Still a Goddess Concept-Mood.. Despite the mud and the tragedy
She remains…a Goddess ...
The collection dedicated to Haiti recalls the Essence of Spirituality and the gestures of Voodoo ceremonies that characterize the island. Haiti 1804 First black republic in the world, the first colony of deported slaves that gained independence. A proud people who defeated Napoleon's troops. The red and blue color the victory flag with the words "Liberté ou la Mort."
Red and blue are the recurring colors of this collection where the female deities (mambo), chewing tobacco, wearing striped shirts and big muddy shoes taken from the bosses, finally cross freely the now uncultivated plantations. Lavish jewelery around their necks, involuntary colonial legacy. Emeralds, rubies and diamonds resting on fabrics soaked with sweat and rum.
The Creole culture is the union of two civilizations, the African and the European, which merge creating a third, the Creole. When the constituent elements of one or the other are so ingrained as to prevent merging, they overlap, creating a visceral syncretism, which by its nature evokes a "trompe l'oeil" full of emotions.
The tradition of Italian tailoring and design blends with the ritual art of naif paintings and haitian vèvè embroideries originating from Africa. All of this is spectacular in form and unique in its content.
· Clothes resulting from transcendental trance, on which spotless linens are swallowed up in a chromatic bulimia, in which water, earth, air, fire, follow each other in a dance fever with no apparent sense.
· Drunken Priestesses dressed in ceremonial clothing of large volumes which offset the naiveté of the matronly cuts.
· White robes infringed by sacrificial red, by brown from the dirt beaten like a drum by nervous bare feet, streaked by yellow, the claws of war, the cocks ready to attack in the arena.
- Monochrome backgrounds on which you can jag the strong, bright, vibrant and defined creole colors. Without shades, only a full awareness of its overall dramatic tension.
 coats of arms representing the Voodoo deities
Stela Jean is a young designer of Haitian descent, born and resident in Rome. She grew up in a family where art, fashion and beauty were attributes present in everyday life. Her mother, an actress, a very elegant woman passionate about fashion, made her debut in a film by Alberto Sordi, and still is the main source of inspiration for the designer. Her father is also an artist who designs and creates jewelry.
Stella Jean's passion for style and fashion is a dream that began to unravel on the catwalk when she paraded for the first time with Egon von Furstenberg’s wedding gown. Her modeling past has given her a training 'in the field' where she experienced hours of fitting and hectic back-stages.
Stella Jean’s style reflects and evokes her Creole heritage that blends her continent’s two cultures: the ancient and dreamy of the old and the verve and modern of the new. The two opposites unite, intertwine and merge to give birth to a precious womanhood.
Stella Jean creates her clothes skipping the step of the design, therefore following the thought of Madeleine Vionnet for whom it is essential to drape and shape the dress directly on the body, noting that "... having your body in three dimensions, it is impossible to rely on paper".
Stella Jean learns the art of painting on fabric from Nadia Valli. "Painting on fabric requires, in addition to considerable preparation, a remarkable talent, an artistic sensibility, a tradition of craftsmanship and patience. These are the ingredients of my idea of “Slow Fashion”. Clothing created by Stella Jean, is not a mass-produced clothing but instead is a specialized craft.
Stella Jean will dress Lisa Drouillard, Miss New York Teen USA 2011, for Miss Teen USA pageant that will be held in Atlantis Paradise Island, Nassau, Bahamas the 16 of July.
Collections: Jeune Belle et Gatée (2009), Oysters don't lie (2010) and Still a Godess, a collection dedicated to Haiti and submitted to the competition “Who's on Next” July 2011 Edition.
Stella Jean is also passionate about literature. Pirandello is her favorite writer.