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Lucire 2011 Collared Eleven Objects has started small by designing collars, but have plans to continue branching out

An array of collars

Lola Saab meets Christine Rhee and Linh Thi Do, who have created their new accessories’ label, Eleven Objects, which kicks off fall 2011 with a range of creative and expressive collars

 

CURRENTLY, the number eleven is no longer just a number: recently, it has come to represent a new accessory line called Eleven Objects. Lately, the designers presented their fall–winter 2011 collection, specializing in a range of collars. Christine Rhee and Linh Thi Do have collaborated to form modern and chic accessories for women to wear, adding a spark of originality to their outfits.

Having once worked for a few fashion houses in the past such as Alexander Wang and Tse, Linh Thi majored in biology as well as fine arts and eventually received a degree in fashion design at Parsons School of Design in New York. She joined Christine Rhee who previously had her own line, CHREE, which was featured in various publications such as Teen Vogue and Marie Claire US. They collaborated and brought both of their fashion expertise to design original and attractive accessories.

The collars’ simple designs, created from various materials including raw silk, silk faille, Italian jacquard silks or even calf hair, are spiced up with a flare, adding Swarovski crystals, brass studs and other detailed pieces. The small ornaments and decorations are placed either all around the collar, or simply on the corners. No matter where the creations are featured when a woman wears the collar, an 11 logo is discreetly situated on the back of the neck—a small element that represents the brand.

Their designs are currently sold online. While they plan to collaborate eventually with designers in the near future, they also plan to add to their collar collection, creating other accessories that will enable wearers to mix and match certain pieces together. The designs include simple or overly complex constructions that can define a woman’s personality as well as their outfits.

Christine and Linh Thi talked to us about the idea behind Eleven Objects, their decision to dive into the world of fashion in creating wonderfully original pieces, and, finally, their future prospects in their new name brand. Both young women, very energetic and excited about their line, also shared their love for fashion; Christine wore a collar of her own to accompany her ensemble.

 

Lucire: Why did you both decide to choose the number 11 to represent your line?

Christine Rhee: I know that when Linh Thi and I started talking about doing an accessories’ line, we wanted to go with a number. Neither one of us wanted to use our name: we wanted to be something where the brand could stand on its own. So we came up with the number 11 because Linh Thi’s birthday is, I think, two days before mine and we are both born in November, the eleventh month … We were going to start working for fall 2011, we knew it was going to be another 11 and so we sort of thought of it … For me I loved how graphic it was, I immediately thought that we could do a beautiful logo …


What allowed you to become involved in the fashion industry?

Linh Thi Do: I actually sewed ever since I was smaller because my grandmother decided it was a good skill to have. I was a biology and a fine arts’ major in college and I think I just decided that … [fashion] is a really great way for people to express themselves, … enjoy their lives and really enjoy themselves, so I decided to move to New York and get into fashion, and that is how I ended up going to Parsons.

… Part of the reason why I did get into fashion is because you can actually create things that you see people enjoy, wear and incorporate in their lives …

Christine: I guess, for me, I have always been interested in clothing as a language … I think I am very much interested in the psychology behind it and the emotion that gets involved in it.


Why did you decide to be based in New York?

Linh Thi: I actually didn’t like New York when I first moved here, I was like, ‘Ah that city, I am never going to live there!’ [Laughs.] But then I ended up moving because Parsons is a really good design school …

Christine: I am from a small farm town in Ohio, so this is before the internet, before Amazon and all of those things … When I was growing up we didn’t have access to anything. We didn’t constantly read about these things. I have never been able to see them or have a look at them … I knew from very early on that I wanted to be in New York: I wanted to be able to have access to all of these things that I could start reading about.


Would either of you have had an alternative career if you had not ended up in the fashion industry?

Linh Thi: In terms of an alternative reality, I think my parents would have hoped that I would have become a doctor … I don't regret, I think what is interesting is that even starting Eleven Objects we both didn’t plan for it ever … It’s been interesting: I ended up doing things because it has really been a discovery about my own life as well as the world and what I enjoy and what I am interested in … so there is no grand plan but it is really responding to my environment in New York …

I think as part of the exploration, realizing that when an opportunity comes up you seize that moment and really live in the present, in the sense you prepare for your life, without rehearsal …

We both have really great experiences, I think that it’s worth realizing that we had an idea and we actually had the skills and the ability to execute it.

Christine: I probably would have stuck with architecture if fashion hadn’t come in at the time that it had. Right before we started Eleven Objects I was thinking about getting into marketing and social media because I had been doing that for a bit on the side before we started doing Eleven Objects … I probably would have continued in that direction …


Linh Thi, how was it working at other fashion houses such as Alexander Wang and Tse compared to currently having your own line?

Linh Thi: I also worked at Doo Ri, Yeohlee, and the list goes on, there is a few people on this list that I haven’t gotten to. [Laughs.] I would say that we decided to go with [our own line] because we wanted to have fun. It was sort of, ‘What would we want to create if we had no limitations?’ … When we found out that we had the ability to create [something] like our dream … we thought, ‘Why not?’ So we tried to be very smart about it and start small, and be really concise so that we could achieve what we set up to.


This collection is your première collection which is said to be ‘accessories inspired by classic glamour and iconic fashion elements’. Could you elaborate on the idea of how your accessories’ line inspires these two components of ‘classic glamour’ as well as ‘iconic fashion elements’?
Christine:
I think for our first season we wanted something that kind of touched on something familiar, so that it wouldn’t be so odd that the person looking at it would not know how to relate to it, so that is where ‘classic glamour’ [comes in]. I think both Linh Thi and I both definitely like putting that twist and a little bit of strangeness and oddness to it as well. In terms of ‘iconic fashion elements’, we come form a garment background rather than an accessory background, so our approach to it is very much about creating these iconic fashion elements that will be transformative to someone’s preexisting wardrobe.

Linh Thi: We wanted it to be something that could go along with everything, play with everything, really change something up. Just because you put the collar on or take the collar off, it is a totally different outfit. You get so much more mileage on your existing clothing, you can have a different attitude or a different mood from what your dress might have been before.


What type of women do you intend to reach out to?

Linh Thi: We both are secretly minimalists at heart but the colours are obviously very maximalists … We are really creating objects that appeal to different people and we want somebody to see it and have an immediate personal reaction …

Christine: We had said that it is for someone who loves fashion, luxury but that definitely has a sense of whimsy, a little bit of a sense of humour with their style …


In general, how long does it take you to create a piece? How long does it take you to put a collection together?

Linh Thi: We put together the collection really quickly; I think we got it together in maybe a month and a half from when we first came up with the idea …

In terms of making each piece, it really depends on how intricate or ornate it is … We have calf hair, leopard prints and also there is a lot of embroidery on some … I think the part that takes more time and thought. [It] is looking and thinking of ideas and we have been spending some time just trying to come up with really appealing ides for spring … We are also not just doing collars for spring, we are really excited that we are going to add other accessories …


Could you give us a hint on what you plan to add to Eleven Objects?

Christine: We never intended to just design collars. We started out with collars and we will definitely continue to do collars, the next step is a natural progression ... We are going to start doing cuffs …


In a sentence or in a word, how would you each define Eleven Objects?

Christine: Luxury, fashion and whimsy …

Linh Thi: We are looking for things that transform people’s wardrobes and still deeply personalize what they’re wearing and expresses who they are.

‘Part of the reason why I did get into fashion is because you can actually create things that you see people enjoy, wear and incorporate in their lives’

 








 


Lola Saab is Paris editor of Lucire.

 

 

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