Chanel Joan Elkayam has graduated with a BA in Womenswear from the prestigious Central Saint Martens school.
Five years of hard work have culminated in an inspiring and jaw-dropping final collection. Originally meant to consist of six looks prior to COVID-19 forcing the school to stop face to face classes. The graduating class of 2020 was asked to create just two looks, for a virtual release which would best represent their whole body of work.
Chanel did all the work for her collection from her home in Saddleworth, Manchester. Using the wonders of modern technology the designer collaborated with Cristiano Biasciu from L,Oréal to create the hair and Nicky Roberts from Peggy Sage UK for the makeup looks. The 19-year-old artisan Daniel Charkow has also worked from Canada over Skype to create the shoe designs for the collection, as well as Tina Lock who created the jewellery for the collection. The atmospheric and enthralling music used in the video comes from Antigoni Buxton.
The collection is inspired by the life of World War 1 spy Mata Hari. An enigmatic and mysterious woman of great beauty, who used her looks and charms to captivate her lovers.
“A mysterious woman, with great attractiveness whose charms ensnare her lovers often leading them into compromising, dangerous situations. Her complex character, self-obsession and sexual chemistry with men in uniform was of great inspiration to me as well as the fact that she is something that she is not.” – Chanel Joan Elkayam
Throughout her time at Central Saint Martins, Chanel has done things her own way. She became the youngest female designer to showcase collections at all four of the major fashion weeks. A trailblazer and a passionate advocate for the fashion industry to become wholly inclusive. She has had she’s had transgender model and activist Munroe Bergdorf followed by Kate Grant, a Down’s syndrome model breaking down barriers by walking in her “I Don’t Follow, I Lead” collection which she showcased at London Fashion week in 2018.
Her purpose is to inspire leaders amongst women and create unique, timeless works of art that empower the wearer.
Inclusiveness is a core value of her brand aesthetic and Chanel does not shy away from doing things differently and channelling her visions through embracing gaps in the diversity of the industry today. She is passionate about spreading understanding and acceptance of all cultures and pushing the vision that one should not be restricted in their potential simply because of their origin or beliefs.
Chanel is a designer you want to watch. You can follow her on Instagram!