Lucie De Moyencourt

Introducing Lucie De Moyencourt

Daydress is delighted to launch our Summer 24 collaboration, with dresses and blouses inspired by the wonderfully expressive painted shells of Cape Town-based artist and illustrator Lucie De Moyencourt.

Here we speak to Lucie, and Gabby, to discover the story behind the collaboration.

How did this collaboration begin?

Lucie: I had previously worked with Sanet Fau Stegmann of Studio Sanet on a range of fabrics featuring my illustrations of shells. We had them in our back pocket for a year and then one day, I asked Sanet: ‘If you could do anything with these fabrics, what would you do?’ And she replied: ‘My favourite idea is having them made into Daydress dresses.’ I’ve long been one of Gabby’s Instagram fans, so I messaged her and to my surprise and delight she immediately said yes.

Gabby: I was a huge fan of Lucie’s work too. I’d seen images of big collections of her shells hung together on walls in gorgeous colours and I love the simple, flowing brush marks on her work; I could see how well that visual language would translate onto dresses, not just as literal shells, but also in the lovely loose mark-making she creates.

Lucie: Amazingly, we haven’t met in person yet! But from the 17th May, for two weeks, around the time of Chelsea Flower Show, we will come together to host a pop-up shop on the King's Road. It will be so fun to be shopgirls for two weeks. I can’t wait!

How were the fabrics made into block prints and then transformed into dresses?

Gabby: We played with different elements of the patterns, choosing designs that felt like they closely represented the original ceramic shells, rather than looking like a generic shell print. Some of the more abstract patterns we paired with a single drawing or with stripes, which is our Daydress style. Changing the scale was also an important part of the process, not just so they worked on the dresses, but because of the restrictions of creating block prints.

Lucie, how long have you been an artist?

Lucie: All my life! I trained and worked as an architect for many years, but I also painted and sold landscapes of Cape Town. In 2007 I had a sell out exhibition, which gave me the funds for a six-month sabbatical from work. I never looked back. My boss still asks me when my six months are going to be up! Outside the structure of office work, I signed up for a ceramics course. The first thing I made was a shell, and that was it.

What is the particular attraction of shells?

I grew up by the sea and I have collected shells since I was a small child. When shells feature in the home it is often in a way that feels quite lame, or kitsch. I wanted to bring  them into new spaces and make them chic. Decorating the shells is a wonderful way to explore the endless possibilities of colour and pattern.

How are the shells made?

My assistant Senga Van Wyk rolls out the clay and cuts out the shapes freehand with a knife. We then fold the shells and later when they are leather-dry we wet sand each one to make it really smooth. It’s a very simple, repetitive process. When they are dry I paint them with underglazes and stains. Once they are fired, a custom-made brass clip is attached to each shell by wire artist George Magaso so it hangs perfectly. 

Could you describe your creative process?

My creative process with the shells is completely intuitive. The more I listen to music or a podcast, the deeper I am, the less I think about it, the better the shells come out. I paint very freely, looking for as much variety and difference as possible. If it’s not really working I go in with more detail, or scratching. It’s quite malleable painting on ceramics, I find.

Do you have a favourite piece in the collection?

Gabby: I think the stand-out design for me is the Bombshell. The collar! The ribbon! The cotton silk material! It feels very special, and there is something of the mermaid about it.  I’ve hugely enjoyed taking  Daydress in a different, unexpected direction. It’s the gift of a good collaboration.

Lucie: My favourite is the Bottishelly. It is like wearing a beautiful, giant shell. But I love all the dresses, all the details, and the names! Working with Gabby is a dream come true.