Gerlan Jeans: Diffusing the Love

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Published March 25, 2009

Asymmetrically pony-tailed Gerlan Marcel is full of enthusiasm. She loves Dolly Parton, the malls of her teenage years, and most of all making prints. Since Graduating from the Central St Martin’s in 2000 she has designed wild, colorful prints for Jeremy Scott, Libertine, Calvin Klein, and Barbie. If Gerlan had her way every surface would have a print on it and, after launching her collection last New York Fashion Week, she is about to have her way. Hosted by Patricia Field in her home, Gerlan unleashed Gerlan Jeans. Herein she explains the extra-terrestrial secrets to the perfect print.

MICHAEL BULLOCK: Why did you decide to launch as a jeans collection?

GERLAN MARCEL: I love printed denim, and it just isn’t available. If you can find it, it’s normally $300-$400. Adding Jeans to the name also makes it a diffusion line. But it’s a diffusion collection without the designer line. It’s about taking ideas from malls all over America, and how I grew up in the Midwest of the 80s. It’s about that sense of excitement that I got from going to the malls. I didn’t know who Galliano was when I was 14. I was influenced by brands like Esprit and United Colors of Benetton. They used to have such powerful identities. I hope one day Gerlan Jeans will have it own stores in malls in middle America and China.

MB: The clothes have dripping peace signs and alien faces all over them. What’s going on?

GM: The collection was inspired by aliens landing and what would happen if they did.  When I started working on the prints I got turned on to this buzz that was going around on the blogs that aliens had touched down in Louisiana last October to tell people that they’re around and that they’re coming back in 2012. That got me thinking that when the aliens land they will have the most outrageous looks. I’m sure their prints probably are 3-D and animated. I’m sure there are so many exciting things that will happen when that world meets ours; that was definitely the jump-off point for the prints, the feeling and the styling. It’s like, “How do aliens know how many baseball caps to wear.”

MB: The prints are very accessible.

GM: Many people are not sure how to wear them. I paid a lot of attention to colors and what flatters the body. Like in the arrow print, I made sure that each arrow was placed in a way that slimmed the figure. Even though the prints are crazy and all-over this attention to wear patterns falls makes them wearable.

MB: How did your show end up being at Patricia Field’s house?

GM: Before I had a venue, I went to the Patricia Field holiday party, which appropriately had a tranny Santa. I was speaking to a friend and he recommended that I give Santa my holiday wish. I got my photo taken with tranny Santa and gave her my wish for a space. She told me that if I rub her boobs my wish would come true. Later I saw Pat and she asked how things were coming along. I mentioned I hadn’t found a space yet and then she said “Well, why don’t you have it at mine?” I was so astonished because I had just asked tranny Santa for my wish 10 minutes earlier! MB: Did her house work well for a presentation?

GM: I couldn’t have asked for a better space. Pat really supports things: It’s not just about lending her name. It’s about nurturing and passing along all of her wisdon. Plus I love how her place looks which is like, “I’m going to live in a night club and I’m not apologizing.” On the ceiling there was already this humongous space scene and I didn’t want to take anything out because I loved all the furniture. I made it a presentation because I wanted the clothes to be moving. There was the feeling of a salon show, like a throwback to the Chanel Couture Salon shows but instead it’s Chanel on acid.

Gerlan Jeans is available at Patricia Field in the US. She is working on her web presence.