Unlike the over the top design ethos typical of the London fashion scene, accessories label Curiouser + Curiouser focuses its aesthetic ambitions on form and longevity rather than gimmicky pizzazz. Alice Waese, the brand’s Canadian founder and designer, combines a delicate mixture of handmade techniques and organic materials to create work with striking and enduring craftsmanship.
Waese’s interest in process and materials developed through her fine art studies at Goldsmiths in London and during her time as a design assistant for Zero Maria Cornejo, but it’s with Curiouser + Curiouser that she has really explored these passions. “I suppose the driving force behind the brand is curiosity, a fascination with making and a genuine interest in art, design and aesthetics,” Waese explains.
Built on the foundations of material investigation, her debut collection is broken up into categories—leather, silver, fiber and paper—and moves between romantic pen-drawn sketches to heavy rose-gold pendants. Drawings found in her paper collection, for instance, are made with a mix of pen and watercolors, and follow playfully sad characters in Dali-like surrounds. With other inspirational nods toward nature, biology, architecture and patterning, the wearable pieces include sack style leather bags with distinct seamwork, overt chain and zipper detail, heavy merino scarves and nut-inspired necklaces.
The careful combination of these disparate elements yields a strong, distinctive collection that accentuates instead of embellishes a look. “I focus on forms and silhouettes more than decoration, and aim to create sculptural pieces that are both functional and unique,” says Waese. “It’s more interesting and more challenging to make something simple, aesthetically pleasing. I often think the challenge is in the taking away rather than putting more on.”
Handcrafting many of the pieces herself in her London studio, Waese seeks inspiration for new designs through working on current creations. Described as seasonless and gender neutral, each piece is coveted more as a fashion art rather than fashion forward—and with only 90 of each style produced, they’re also appealingly exclusive. Her second collection is set to be released before Christmas in conjunction with London store Hostem, while plans for garments, knitwear and unisex leather footwear next year will make for curious additions to this visionary brand.