Leisure travel hasn't exactly been possible for more than a year now. We'd be lying if we say that we don't miss all the out-of-country adventures and experiences, and the general sense of going on an actual vacation. Heck, this style director has a couple of outerwear that have yet to see the light of day in a significantly less humid locale.
Depending on how you look at it, the RIMOWA x CHAOS collection isn't exactly helping soothe this yearning for far-off journeys.
It's brilliant in more ways than one. Firstly, there's the eye-catching dual-coloured design that mimics a paint run-off on RIMOWA's Essential Cabin luggage. Then there's a series of luggage tags and bag charms, each more vibrant and unique than the other. A pack of luggage stickers round off the offering—just in case missing out on your luggage on the carousel with any single one of the aforementioned pieces remains a possibility.
The centrepiece of RIMOWA x CHAOS—at least for us—is the ingeniously designed luggage harness. It's essentially an external compartment made of satin nylon that wraps around a cabin luggage. Additional and easily accessible pockets that can be added to almost any cabin luggage? Brilliant.
So you can see why we're quite miffed at RIMOWA and accessories label CHAOS for this collaboration. Typical travel-associated issues–lack of storage and indistinguishable luggage—could be things we won't have to deal with anymore thanks to RIMOWA x CHAOS. But we can't be sure because we're effectively grounded.
At the same time, it's also a collection that reminds us of the joys of travelling. RIMOWA's chief marketing officer Emelie De Vitis calls it a "mood-lifter" and adds, "We hope that it'll give people a sense of excitement about the travels ahead." And of course, doing so with the tools to make the entire journey more memorable and seamless. Thankfully, like our style director's coats, there'll be a use for them in the not-too-distant future and therein lies the excitement.
In the meantime, CHAOS co-founders Charlotte Stockdale and Katie Lyall tell us more about their collaboration with RIMOWA and indulge us with the creative concepts behind some of the pieces.
ESQUIRE: The RIMOWA x CHAOS collaboration is by no means conventional. Were there any reservations at all during the design process?
CHARLOTTE STOCKDALE AND KATIE LYALL: No, on the contrary, the brief was to create a collection that played on the CHAOS codes of colour, fun, high design and eye-catching graphics. We wanted to splash CHAOS's energy across RIMOWA's exceptional iconic identity.
ESQ: With a brand name like CHAOS, it does seem like your design process is often unrestrained. But also as fashion stylists, editing is quite a key skill to have. Are you both perfectionists? And how much tweaking does a design go through before it's finalised?
STOCKDALE AND LYALL: That's such a good question! When in the role of fashion editors, we can be very ruthless— refining and refining and refining until we have driven everyone mad. But when styling, we can be the opposite—more is more and we want everything. These two opposing forces are the two sides that make CHAOS as you know it. There is a definition of CHAOS that we think is very apt. CHAOS has been described as 'a system whose behaviour is so unpredictable as to appear random, but with a great sensitivity to detail', and we'd say that just about sums it up.
ESQ: The charms in the collection depict quite curious everyday objects done in leather and chenille. Why were these symbols chosen and why the textural contrast between the two materials in one?
STOCKDALE AND LYALL: We love a little cheekiness at CHAOS and each of these symbols have potential links to very different referenced meanings. The apple is such a wholesome symbol of health—'An apple a day keeps the doctor away'—but also a symbol of temptation. We rather like the play between the two; similarly, with the pill which is a longstanding CHAOS icon. And of course, we are British and who doesn’t love a fried egg in an English breakfast! Yet an egg is also the beginning of life. All three are everyday icons, and we love their simple lines and joyful colours. We wanted the textures to be pleasing visually and to the touch, and it's a classic CHAOS move to play with a smooth, hard texture next to a fluffy, tactile one—emphasising both by their contrast.
ESQ: Let's talk about the luggage harness. It's quite a mind-blowing design. How did that come about? Was it perhaps influenced by fashion’s obsession with harnesses a couple of seasons ago?
STOCKDALE AND LYALL: Thank you so much! No, in fact the harness was something we conceived long before and it was invented purely from experience and necessity. Like any good design, it's simple and functional. Although somehow obvious once you have thought of it, we are fairly sure no one has ever made one before. Basically, the aesthetic beauty of the RIMOWA suitcases is the ridged shell—to change it to have large capacity pockets doesn't work. But Katie and I are prolific over-packers and purchasers when travelling. We cannot count the number of times that found us on our knees at check-in, trying to shove stuff between our various suitcases and hand luggage to conform to weight and space issues.
We invented the CHAOS iPhone case with iPhone Case straps in order to be hands free. And we made cardholders and other 'objects' that could all clip together in order for quick and easy access. We cannot stand rummaging around in our bags for stuff, especially when late for a flight! So the harness also offers organised easy access to travel essentials. We test drove a very early sample and it really works.
ESQ: What other RIMOWA products would CHAOS love to add their stamp to that's not part of this collaboration?
STOCKDALE AND LYALL: Hmm… Well that would be telling! We did have many more ideas than was possible to do this time around, but you will have to enjoy the possible anticipation of a next stage.
ESQ: Of the two types of collaborations—clothes and accessories—that CHAOS have been involved with, which is typically more of a challenge, if any?
STOCKDALE AND LYALL: They all have their challenges, however, probably accessories. The clothing we are into is leisurewear which is marginally more straightforward. Also, we have a love of innovation in the accessory areas that always brings new unforeseen hurdles.
ESQ: The world does seem pretty chaotic at the moment. When we're all allowed to freely travel again, what's the first destination that you'd be heading to for some peaceful time off?
STOCKDALE AND LYALL: Peaceful time off—what a lovely goal! We are not the best at that, but if reality is set aside for a moment we can 100 percent see ourselves in flowing kaftans with cocktails in hand at any spa in a hot place in the world. Obviously, CHAOS always being about the play on opposites, cocktails are de rigeur at any spa.
The RIMOWA x CHAOS collection is now available in RIMOWA boutiques.