Alongside her restoration collection, she also has a contemporary line that is inspired from the past. Often, if an old garment she finds while bargain hunting cannot be revived, she reproduces them using vintage material. Or, when there isn’t enough of that, she uses surplus fabric from wholesale outlets of the big fashion houses. In the spirit of zero waste fashion, she repurposes old tablecloths and bed sheets, and uses the ends of fabric rolls.
As for her themes, “they are really simple: the 1920s, working with the earth, the different trades. To get the collection going there was of course a lot to do with the country style and I love Charlie Chaplin. I can be inspired by an object or an old book I come across and I’m not sure what I’m going to do with it, but there are stories in it that really speak to me and I want to create things around that. But the world of the past is so vast that it’s no longer necessary to go crazy going, ‘what am I going to do next.’ I don’t have to invent anything, it’s all there.”
Velazquez has come a long way from her fashion beginnings 15 years ago working for Armani, then at concept store I de B (Ingrid de Borchgrave) and later Zadig & Voltaire. Self-taught, she runs the business with her brother, Hugo, who is 17 years her junior and has just graduated from L’Atelier Lannaux fashion school in Brussels. The two are not cut from the same cloth. Where Eva is impassioned by the raw, rough and tumble practicality of clothes for daily working life, Hugo has his sights set on designing haute couture evening wear in monochrome. His first collection, launched a few months ago, is inspired by contemporary icons and classic Spanish style. But somehow, the two compliment each other. And Eva insists she would not be where she was without him.
Open for under a year on rue Franz Merjay, there is a lot yet to discover about where the business can go, but that is all part of the journey.
“The road will unfold,” Eva says.
As she says this, it is easy to imagine her 100 years ago, waiting for a steam-engine train with valise in hand, a straw hat on her head, her linen summer dress blowing in the breeze.
Wherever she goes, she’ll be fine, even if she has nothing but the clothes on her back. In fact, she’d probably prefer it that way.
Model: Charlotte Collard
Photos: Gaston Lafond