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Tuesday, May 31st 2011

Modern Mod: Raoul Designer Odile Benjamin on the A/W 2011 Collection

Three looks fromm the Raoul autumn/winter 2011 runway.

Launched in Singapore in 2002 by husband-and-wife duo Odile and Douglas Benjamin, Raoul has since earned international acclaim, landing stateside this past spring. We talked to womenswear designer Odile about the inspiration behind the autumn/winter 2011 collection, which showed May 18 at the Singapore Fashion Festival.

Shopbop: Tell us about the collection. What was the inspiration?
Odile: We drew inspiration from the glamorous uniforms of the Pan Am and Braniff girls from the late ’60s and early ’70s, and gave them a modern-day interpretation. We looked at clean silhouettes that are linear and graphic, with precise tailoring to achieve a sense of purity and minimalism, coupled with a utilitarian feel.

SB: What was the color palette you used, and what made you choose those colors?
Odile: We worked with a neutral palette for our base, such as oatmeal, cognac, ink, jet, maroon, blush, porcelain white, and putty grey. Shades of those colors were combined in a tonal way to achieve a monochromatic, clean look, but then we interjected an element of surprise with bright colors such as fluorescent red, ultraviolet, and terracotta.

Raoul founders Odile and Douglas Benjamin.

SB: Where was the runway show staged, and what was on the soundtrack?
Odile: The show took place in Singapore, at the Tent at Orchard. We had 25 models and sent 51 looks down the runway. For the soundtrack, we curated music from the ’60s and ’70s, and then blended the tracks with contemporary indie bands that are making music with that ’60s melodic sound. We became especially obsessed with finding music with the drumbeat that was so particular to the time.

SB: The Raoul line has a very classic feel to it. How would you describe the Raoul woman?
Odile: The Raoul woman exudes femininity, yet she is assertive, modern, multi-tasking, and multi-faceted.

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