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April 1st, 2004

A Look at Latex in Couture

by Leda Resurreccion

Gaelyn and Cianfarani: Rubber on the Runway; A Look at Latex in Couture by Leda Resurreccion

The creative duo Genevieve Gaelyn and Atom Cianfarani began their collaborative efforts in 1999. They have just completed their Spring 2004 collection for Bryant Park’s Mercedes Benz 7th on Sixth fashion event. The use of recycled rubber inner tubing and latex are trademarks of the label’s innovative couture pieces. The G&C team consciously makes the effort to create their clothing line with a difficult textile while preserving the environment.

G&C have been featured in fashion staples such as ItalianVogue, Black Book & I-D. Their clients range from Pink, P. Diddy and Bjork, as well as photographers Steven Meisel and David LaChapelle.

SJ: What prompted you and Jenna to work with the materials that you work with?

G&C: The fabrics that we are known for are our recycled bicycle inner tubes and latex sheeting; however, we work with several fabrics ranging from cottons to silks and wools. Latex and rubber both have their source in the sap of the Rubber Tree. As natural materials, latex and rubber have been used since 1600 B.C. While latex and rubber have roots in the natural worlds, in their present form they are a result of modern, industrial processes. They speak to our desire to live in a world where the natural and the industrial exist in harmony.

SJ: Having enjoyed the success of the Bryant Park shows, do you feel that other designers will apply the same usage of latex in a more obvious manner?

G&C: Our experience in the Bryant Park Tents has taught us both that whatever goal we aim for we can achieve. I feel that the latex and rubber creations will always be more of a couture item, one of a kind, which is what our business is mostly about. It would be interesting to see another design house make latex accessible to the public.

SJ: How was your work initially received? The lines of some of the pieces are cut with such precision that one has to look twice before you realize the clothing is latex.

G&C: It is very inspiring to see how positive the response to our work has been in the Fashion Industry. No one was creating what we were, so it was received as something fresh and exciting.

SJ: Does music influence your work?

G&C: Each collection seems to have its own soundtrack?ɂwhatever music we are recently into tends to weave its way into our seams as we work?ɂ but it really just happens, it is not a premeditated process of “lets listen to this so we feel like this.” The work just flows together and creates itself.

SJ: Would you ever consider collaborating with another label-maybe a fully beaded Badgley Mischka in latex?

G&C: At this point we are in communication with a larger label about collaboration, but we are unable to talk about that now. Look for it in Spring 2005/06.

SJ: What film would you have liked to have done costume design for?

G&C: I think I could have fun with a lot of films; just about any fantastical period piece would be a dream come true.

SJ: How different is the creative process for both of you on the east coast? And how are the cats?

G&C: When we moved to New York it was the first time we lived in the same city (and started creating together) which in its own way, New York, presented us with just about anything we asked for. This proximity was all we needed to create a dynamic collaborative team. Our creative processes have changed and evolved over time as we have. Fatty the cat is great. He lives with Jenna now. Frankie the cat is the devil!

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