“I need a break from planet Earth,” reads the first post on designer Joy Teiken’s blog outlining her design journey leading up to the upcoming space-inspired collection.
That statement offers a glimpse into the designer’s mindset as she approached her latest collection under her label Joynoëlle, which will debut on May 20. While looking through books about space and the solar system with her son, she began to daydream about what it would be like to travel to other planets. “With all that is happening in the world, I thought it would be nice to get off planet Earth for a bit,” she says.
She began digging into NASA images, space exploration footage, and the book Spacesuits: Within the Collections of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum (a recommendation from fellow local fashion designer, Laura Fulk). She was particularly drawn to images of the spacesuits.
“I’ve been drawn to the colors, textures, straps, and ties of the pressure while starting this collection,” she says. “I also appreciate the utility of something that is worn for the purpose of keeping you safe from high-pressured surroundings.” Referring to a series of three images of vintage spacesuits, she says, “I love the muted jeweled-toned blocked colors, and the odd placement of detail.”
The designer has been creating collections (not tied to any season in particular) consistently every year since founding her line in 2003. Since then, she’s been one of the hardest-working, most prolific designers in the Twin Cities, and is known to combine inspiration from unusual sources-from dinosaurs to moss and lichen-with Victorian-inspired silhouettes and innovative fabric combinations.
An in-progress garment from Joynoëlle’s 2018 Collection
At her studio and atelier in the Kingfield neighborhood of Minneapolis, several of the designer’s in-progress designs are on display. One features a bust made from intricately pleated black organza that explodes out at the shoulders-equal parts Victoriana and space-age. Another in sheer navy silk features circular seaming across the bodice and skirt, a nod to the circular shapes of solar systems. Yet another has a blue and white pattern reminiscent of images of clouds swirling above Earth. “Each piece is a little bit different,” she says. “I’m not looking at it so much as a cohesive collection as much as individual looks that represents a different aspect of the galaxy.”
She shows me panels composed of pastel-hued silk scraps that will be stitched together into a fit-and-flare skirt. “My goal for most of these pieces is to not buy any new fabric, so this is all repurposed,” she says. “I have bags and bags and bags of fabric, because I can’t get rid of anything, so this is all scraps from past collections.” She shows me an image of Jupiter’s gases, which looks exactly like the fabric panels. During her presentation of the looks, she plans to accompany each garment with their respective inspiration images so the viewer can see the connection to each.
Teiken is unusual in indie fashion’s current turn toward minimalism-a style that is more affordable and everyday wearable than her elaborate, one-of-a-kind creations. That fact is not lost on the designer. “I never do anything simply,” she says. “Every time I’m in the middle of doing a collection, I question why I even do it. I don’t make money on the pieces I create for my shows, and when I do a runway show, I lose money.
“But I’m never happier than when I work through the creative process,” she says. “I think of it as just putting on a show. It’s like a play—something I love doing, even though it takes so much time and energy.”
Joynoëlle’s 2018 Collection Presentation will take place at Lightbox Studio in Minneapolis-a more intimate, unconventional setting than usual. There will be two showings, and space will be limited.
Joynoëlle’s 2018 Collection Presentation: Sunday, May 20 (viewings at 6:30-8 p.m. or 8:30-10 p.m.) at Lightbox Studio, 2600 E. 26th St., Minneapolis; tickets are $20 at joynoelle.com
More in-progress garments: