WATER OF LOURDES, A STAINLESS-STEEL SANCTUARY
Sailing the seas of alternative materials, Alina Aleksandrovna runs Water of Lourdes, an upcoming brand that shows you that underwear is not necessary a basic. Have you ever imagined Serena Williams in a tutu?
1. You create a lot of underwear inspired garments, why underwear?
“I love using underwear as an accessory in my own outfits. It expresses sensuality in a laid-back way. I can’t think of anything cooler than an effortless outfit combined with out of context sexy elements, for example a bra on top of a t-shirt or a thong peeking out of a pair of baggy trousers. It confuses the brain and at the same time guides the eye along the shapes of the body creating such an intriguing look.”
2. You’ve created underwear in a more decorative and outerwear kind of style. Why is that?
“I like contradictions. The tattoo thong is a soft and delicate lace thong combined with a sharp blade-like steel object, it's sexy and it's rebellious. There are so many ways of interpreting it. It’s my best-selling product. And I plan on making more undergarment inspired pieces in the near future.”
“She looks like a warrior, but graceful, and yet fierce.”
3. Where does the name on your Instagram account, namely Water of Lourdes originate from and what is the meaning behind it?
“If I had to choose one thing between all things, I’d definitely pick water. More specifically Lourdes water that comes from a spring in the South of France. It is considered holy and attributes healing properties. I like the mystical hint behind the meaning but mostly I love how Water of Lourdes sounds in my head, it could be the name of a female historical character, along the lines of Joan of Arc.”
4. What kind of fantasy or message do you want your garments to portray?
“Have you seen Serena Williams wear a tulle tutu? She looks like a warrior, but graceful, and yet fierce. That's exactly my message. But there's such a big array of people that can wear my designs that it just comes down to the message each individual wants to project. Based on personal style, attitude or gender, the underlying concept could be highlighted, contradicted or overturned pretty easily. But I can confidently say that without the person wearing it, it's just pretty underwear.”
5. I see on your Instagram account that your undergarments usually appear over the clothing, why do you think underwear as outerwear is something that is becoming more prevalent today?
“Subverting a garment that should remain intimate and using it as an accessory is punk. It's also a reminder that there is a naked body under the layers of fabric so it is sexy without trying too hard. And isn’t that what our generation aspires the most: effortlessness?”
6. What is your design process?
“I get inspiration from people I follow online, from science, the sea and other random places, but it properly starts with the notes I write on my phone. I have hundreds of individual notes that describe in great detail ideas I get and ways of executing them. Sometimes they make sense and some look like total nonsense and it’s hard to remember what I meant.”
“I usually draw in illustrator, then laser cut my designs and components. The important part is the moment when the piece is assembled and I can start test-wearing it. I make small adjustments and ask for a lot of feedback from the people I love. If I continuously want to wear a piece I made, both at home and out, I know I am on the right path.”
7. Why have you chosen to use stainless steel as a medium in your designing practises?
“Stainless steel is the starting point. My business partner and I work in a company that produces parts and machinery for the food industry using stainless steel. Might not sound exciting, I know, but it is, trust me. There are so many different processes involved in production like bending, cutting, welding, polishing that you get to know your material very intimately.
That's how I learned to love and appreciate stainless steel. It’s durable and beautiful in a non-intrusive way. It’s also very easy to recycle. There's a practical reason as well. During the production process, in my day job, we have high quality stainless steel scraps that are too small to be used and are discarded. Imagine it like a piece of fabric that is used to make a suit from. Instead of throwing away the scraps you use them to make accessories. It’s as easy as that. I integrated the production of huge mechanical parts along with my own line and the result is high quality sustainable manufacturing and competitive price, a scenario that is usually kind of impossible for a young brand.”