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Hause of O Manifesting art into reality

Hause of O’s Danielle Ferreira releases stunning new underwater series which marries couture with astrology.

With a background in theatre and photography, and a creative streak which deftly meanders through the design and creation of couture dresses and costume, but also into set building and styling, Danielle Ferreira’s wearable art invites you to dive into the fantasy realm. Danielle told me more about her beautiful new series, Ophiuchus and Astrology.

First things first. Can you tell us a bit about yourself and how Hause of O came to be?

I'm a 36 year old from West Yorkshire who's always loved anything creative from a young age.

I guess it all started with drama in high school and college, then in 2003 the first year of a Theatre HND [qualification]. By this point I had realised that I didn't want to be on stage but loved the design aspects of theatre. At the same time as my drama phase, as I like to call it, I took up an A-level in Photography and knew that was the direction I wanted to go in.

Then came a rather long interval governed by life's storms and the pressure to bring in a regular wage, but finally in 2018 I started Hause of O, named after my daughter as she definitely runs the house. Hause of O is my way of manifesting my art into reality, whether that be designing couture dresses and costume, or set building and styling.

When creating a new piece or collection, where do you draw inspiration from?

I first look at where the piece will be photographed and take into consideration lighting, colours and angles so that I can build a base of the medium I'll need to use. Then I focus on the model's shape and aesthetic so I know I'm creating something that will work well with them. After that it's pretty much a case of daydreaming, sketching and character building.

I like to have some sustainable aspects in all of my costumes so I tend to try and find as much fabric as I can from recycle shops. There are so many great places out there intercepting materials destined for landfill and it really broadens my options and ideas.

I also love to trawl the internet for fabric ideas and examples of historical fashion and methods. It's been a long time since I've been to a fabric warehouse due to the current situation. Working around this has been difficult but also challenges me creatively too.

Image: Andy Plues / Model: Monika Letora
Image: Andy Plues / Model: Monika Letora
Image: Andy Plues / Model: Monika Letora

Can you tell us more about the concept of 'wearable art' and how it influences the pieces you create?

'Wearable art' is a term I use to try to describe what I'm trying to create, maybe to myself as well as my audience. I struggled in the beginning to pinpoint a direction. I felt that by following the principle of what I make being art rather than fashion, it helped me to work with many mediums rather than being restricted.

It influences what I do now more than ever. I get to be much more experimental with fabrics, techniques and other mediums. I've used everything from shells to LED lighting, and it's much more fun.

Image: Ellie Frances / Model: Georgia Galpin
Image: Ellie Frances / Model: Georgia Galpin
Image: Ellie Frances / Model: Georgia Galpin

The featured images are of your latest series. Can you tell us about the process that led to their creation?

I was invited by Jaja Photography to an underwater shoot, so straight away I wanted to be involved. I was excited to create pieces to be used in water.

Choosing textures and weights of fabric came first. I really wanted the majority of the costumes to be lightweight as it looks beautiful as it ripples through the water but then I also wanted an edge with the heavier chain.

I started by designing the two bodices, first running with a dark versus light theme based around astrology. I wanted Ophiuchus to be light in colour and more slim-lined as it’s a newly-theorised star sign. I made Astrology dark and much larger in terms of fabric to represent the vastness of space, with hints of silver popping through like constellations. I think they worked well together. It was an amazing process where I could really experiment.

What's next on the horizon for Hause of O?

I've just moved into a new studio space so lots of organising at the moment and then I'll be creating my next installation. I surveyed photographers and models in West Yorkshire and they have asked that I build a fantasy set so that's what I'm going to be doing.

On the costume side of things I'm currently developing a concept piece with a rococo feel teamed with some more modern costume aesthetics. It's still in the design phases but it feels like it's going to be something I'll enjoy.

by Felicity Jackson (she/her)

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