Interviewing Awaveawake designer and stylist Jaclyn Hodes is like once again being at her Spring/Summer 2014 presentation at New York Fashion Week: one leaves dreaming of saturated silks, travel through Asia without a proper game plan and a curious desire to lay in beds of fragrant flower petals listening to Led Zeppelin. The vibration of sacred places and spaces permeates her collection, from evening spice markets to incense-filled temples and imbues each garment with a singular story we long to know more about.
Hodes tells Ecouterre she ended up in Chiang Mai, Thailand, the city that inspired her collection quite “spontaneously.”
“I decided to go to Asia on a textile-research trip seeing how far I could travel in a months time. I started out in China to meet a friend who’s a sustainable designer working over there. I was warned a month was too short a tour of the wild East without a definite course set,” says Hodes.
Though the designer only managed to make a few stops on the “silk road” she researched leads in Northern Thailand, to visit some weaving workshops but didn’t have enough time to venture to Isan where most of the workshops were located. Chiang Mai became a weeklong stopover on the way to Burma.
“The city of Chiang Mai was a place of inspiration from the first moment of arrival. I was welcomed by beautiful new friends who lived there and was given a tour of their very personal and renovated place on a very traditional family estate. Chiang Mai is a bit like that—modern and relatable on one hand and then you wander a bit away and you’ve found yourself in completely unknown territory,” says Hodes, adding that the snapshots she took on her trip became the color palette for her collection, as well.
These photos, translated through natural dyes served up in pale peaches and pinks, meld together in woven, flowing silk dresses and skirts, watercolor greens meet jeweled purples and blood red, while opaque grey and black serve as boundary lines for what is most certainly an overall ethereal collection.
Hodes is known for her impeccable blending of feminine ’30s vintage slips and body-conscious ’70s silhouettes, while her designs are all about the intersection of beauty and functionality. Materials are bamboo silk blended lace, hemp stretch, silk charmeuse, crepe de chine, jacquard and chiffons. All silk pieces have been dyed with plant-based materials.
Hodes tells Ecouterre that as much as she gathered natural inspiration for her collection from Chiang Mai itself, she was also struck by the number of “spirit houses” scattered around the city. The designer says it was these places of intimate devotion, the colors of the wrapped fabric around the shrines, and the offerings left there that also inspired her “both visually and vibrationally.”
In addition to Spring/Sumemr 2014 silhouettes, Hodes also collaborated with jewelry designer Dalila Pasotti of Hollow Dancer to create modern spins on traditional Thai jewelry and featured gold-plated and colored enamel armbands cuffed outside of the silk dresses and loose blouses.
“I showed her the color palette and the sketches and images I took from Chiang Mai and she translated it into a perfectly paired down Thai-inspired gold-plated and enamel armbands and collars. I always wear my arm bands over my blouses during the colder months and so there was ample opportunity to showcase her rose bud pieces in most of the collections looks,” Hodes says of her collaboration with Hollow Dancer.
Hodes says though she knows there’s a quality of fantasy to the Awaveawake look, the line is designed to be easy and have a versatility to it with all the layering pieces.
“There is also a functionality to the collection even though the primary material, silk, is considered a luxurious material. I’d like to reinvent the way it’s viewed so it reads more casual all while experiencing the feel-good sensuality of the material against one’s skin.”
We’re ready to give it a try, of course.