longing for sleep
all day, all night
hiding away from short daylight
diving in dreams, courageous fields
I feel guilt, conscience
as glittering sand
itching my side
I long for sleep
Borrowing its name from the Estonian title for Chekhov’s
novel “Let Me Sleep”, the conceptual collection “Longing for Sleep”
is about the haunting wish to sleep during dark wintery times, kaamos. Kaamos is an untranslatable word only known in Estonian and Finnish languages, referring to the period in the Northern Hemisphere when the days are very short and it barely gets light outside. To materialize the feeling of a wish to stay in bed wrapped in ablanket all day long, Marit Ilison has created a collection using vintage Soviet wool blankets.
The eye-catching, colourful and patterned woollen vintage blankets originate from the 1970s and 1980s Soviet Union when they were very common and found in every house. Every family had at least one, if not several. The blankets are often connected to very personal memories, for example, they were given as wedding presents. In the beginning, the blankets were made of camel wool. People used to unpick them to get precious yarn and to knit sweaters of it during the Soviet deficit. Later mainly lambswool was used. We dedicate a lot of time finding them because such blankets have become rare in time and each of them is unique. For Longing for Sleep coats each blanket is carefully selected and cleaned.
We handmake all of the pieces in our atelier in Tallinn working together with highly skilled artisans. All the silk details are separately hand-dyed according to the colour of each blanket and all the seams hand-treated. It takes about a week to prepare a coat. Each coat is then labelled with a certificate stating the origin, sequence number and the names of the people who have been personally involved in making of the piece. All this special dedication makes the coats true wearable novelty pieces.
Reflecting Marit Ilison’s trademark of translating feelings into beautiful physical matter, there is a reason why the embellishment is discretely hidden inside the coats. Though she’d like to stay wrapped in a blanket for a whole day during deep winter, she hears a pricking conscience whispering in her ear that she should be working instead. This little voice is like sand on her side or a pea under the mattress which won’t let her fall into slumber. Therefore, she has translated this feeling into the rich embellishments inside of the coats, which also reflect an idea of a secret dream world inside the coat shimmering of beautiful dreams. We are using best crystals and create unique embellishments for each piece.
Titled as the “true poetess of clothing” by French haute couture magazine Stiletto, Marit Ilison is a multidisciplinary artist and a freelance designer working in the fields of conceptual art, fashion, costume design, site-specific installations, perceptional experiences and exhibition design. Marit Ilison mixes deep concepts with feelings and eye-catching form. For her, everything starts from a concept or a feeling. She is the Vogue TALENT 2014 and was the finalist of the 29th Hyeres Fashion & Photography Festival among other awards and recognitions. The phrase Longing for Sleep had been haunting her for years before the project of colourful woollen coats came to fruition after 10 years.