Chapter V…The Alchemist

‘creating something beautiful and other-worldly through a seemingly magical yet meticulous process’
A work of art, collectable & timeless!

The look

The Classic Kimono with puddle train. Layers of silk and satin in rich dark shades from raven to jet black, ‘featuring embossed tigers striding purposely through the undergrowth of embroidered jungle plants’

The leather hourglass corset, traditional ‘scroll’ hand carving on leather hide in a shade of deep burnished raven.

The History

This creation evokes feelings of nostalgia for both of us. The skills involved to make both the leather corset and the embroidered kimono are the skills we taught ourselves as students, it’s where it all began for us. This look is all about the details and techniques used on the surface of the leather and the silk. It has always been and is even more so now our passion and ambition to ‘keep traditional skills alive’.

The Alchemist is most personal to us!

‘As a student my passion was for corsetry and tailoring, the first material I found that I wanted to work with was leather, then from researching library books I discovered my passion and skill for hand carving textures and designs onto the surface, some 30 years and many many designs later, I am still discovering new techniques and exploring the endless possibilities of working with leather’ Paul Seville

The hourglass corset created on 3mm Leather hide and finished in its burnished raven colour is based on one of Paul Seville’s original bustiers from 1992. It was displayed in a boutique on Bond Street, spotted by Karl Lagerfeld which all led to his very first commission for catwalk pieces and accessories. ‘The Alchemist’ re working of this style has been a long standing ambition.

Inspired by Steph Aman’s passion for traditional Kimonos, the Alchemist kimono style is an appreciation of and an homage to Japanese culture and craftsmanship. Her embroidery designs have always had a curious and surreal message running through them, on the surface they appear to be traditional embroidery designs but on closer inspection a darker side becomes more apparent. Her unique interpretation on embroidery design resulted in the early Steph Aman silk wear collections having a cult following in Japan.

‘For me, it has always been an exchange of and a mutual admiration between my traditional embroidery skills and Japanese hand embroidery designs and techniques’ Steph Aman

The wildness and darkness in The Alchemist kimono is reflected in her use of the striding tigers and jungle plants throughout the embroidery.

Mood & Emotion

On first look The Alchemist is a very classic and historical look. We wanted to keep that traditional museum and gallery feel about it but also unmistakably contemporary. Designed and created to embrace the traditional but with a modern twist.

To get the mood for this piece think of a combination of Shinjuku Golden Gai in Tokyo versus the serenity of traditional Japanese gardens. The Golden Gai with its narrow streets & ramshackle bars, historical yet sleazy and decadent like a 1970’s London Soho contrasting the aesthetics and fragility of an ancient and natural garden landscape. Personally we like to have a combination of both in our lives!

The Alchemist, wild, uninhibited, like a darker ‘sister’ piece to The Ballerina. We see both looks to be gallery and museum pieces but this alchemist is wild and interactive, don’t just stand and stare in awe – interact with her! We think of her as very cat like, a feline, elegant & graceful but also wild and unpredictable, beware, she could strike out at any moment.


Fad gadget- Back to nature

Chapters I, II, III, IV, VI