how designer mimi wade is bringing hollywood horror back
“Thousands of years ago it crashes, and this thing… gets thrown out, or crawls out, and it ends up freezing in the ice.” What happens when the ice thaws? The Thing wakes up and creeps onto the party dresses of new Fashion East designer Mimi Wade!
You might recognize 23-year-old Mimi Wade from her SuperSuper! cover, all glossy mint-colored curls and pin-up looks, and with a 50s film star for a grandma (she starred in 1958 horror The Blob) you wouldn't be surprised. But looking super-super on the cover of magazines isn't all Mimi Wade is good at. Her Central Saint Martins graduate fashion design collection was one of the standouts this year. Inspired by cult 50s Hollywood horror heroines from films like Creature from the Black Lagoon and The Thing, it was a fantastical, horrifying homage to the most difficult genre for a pretty young thing to conquer. As Mimi joins AV Robertson, Richard Malone and Caitlin Price in the first year where four designers (instead of the usual three) will be showing with Fashion East at London Fashion Week, we catch up with the scream queen to find out the ten things you absolutely must know about her fledgling line.
1. She switched from art to fashion on her CSM foundation.
"The pivotal moment for me was on foundation at St Martins. You didn't choose the fashion pathway, you had to apply to be selected within the course. I was quite surprised that I had been accepted despite never having made any clothes in my life but it really spurred me on! I'd studied art at school and always adored it but I wanted to take this further and learn practical skills like sewing and pattern cutting."
2. This is everything you need to know about the inspiration behind her graduate collection - her Granny Pammy.
"The collection was inspired by my Granny Pammy. I went to visit her on Fountain Avenue, West Hollywood, the summer before I went back to St. Martin's for my final year. I told her that she would be my muse for the collection and asked her if she had any photos or clothes that I could have as research material. About 20 boxes full of photographs, film stills and articles were unearthed and I proceeded to rifle through the treasures which included a photograph of her by Richard Avedon, which she explained was taken at the time when she was a single mum in Hollywood and had brought my uncle, who was three at the time, to the shoot, got up at 5am to be there and forgot to put on make-up. As models were expected to do their own in those days it was apparently a rookie error and the team were not very sympathetic, though really I don't think she needed much, if any make-up! There was also a campaign she did for Dali's surrealist jewellery (which he refused to pay her for). I also found a hysterical article about her and pals entitled Debutante Drunks: How to Save Your Daughter from Dope, Drugs and Debauchery. This was where I got the Party Girl dress idea from, although I also took inspiration from Shirley Maclaine in What a Way to Go. "
3. Her fave horror films of all time are:
"Rosemary's Baby, Dead Calm, The Beyond, Invasion of the Bodysnatchers, The Craft, Frankenstein Created Woman, The Thing, What lies Beneath, The Silence of the Lambs, The Shining."
4. Her next collection sounds likes it's filled with just as many lavish references as the first.
"Think Virna Lisi in How to Murder your Wife meets Angelina Jolie in Girl Interrupted."
5. This is the essential advice she got from fashion fairy godmother, Lulu Kennedy:
"I've had so much amazing advice from Lulu but one thing that springs to mind is the importance of having a business plan. It's something a lot of creative people forget as it's a bit of a bore but it's going to stand you in good stead."
6. And this is her own essential advice to CSM students:
"Have fun in your first year!"
7. She was/still is an Anti-Agency model.
"I've got to try on some amazing (and hideous!) clothes. It's really important to see how things fit on the body and to look at clothes close up and see how they're made."
8. Her dream-women to dress are Pam, Lana and Sofia.
"I've been lucky enough to see Pamela Anderson and Lana Del Rey in my slip dresses, both of whom I am mildly obsessed with. It would also be pretty dreamy to dress Sofia Coppola."
9. Her favourite fashion shows of all time are:
"Either John Galliano spring/summer 94 or Louis Vuitton autumn/winter 14."
10. This is her studio playlist:
PJ Harvey - Big Exit
Koopsta Knicca - Robbers
Atlas Sound - Holiday
Justin Bieber, Young Thug & Travis Scott - Maria I'm Drunk
Sonic Youth - Superstar
Gary Numan - Are Friends Electric?
Gucci Mane - Lemonade
Text Felicity Kinsella
Photography courtesy Mimi Wade