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D  A  R  K    T  I  D  E  S

SEASON 5 / FALL 16


There was a time, a long time ago when the sea was so sweet, it gave the power of speech to all the marine animals, and gave them everlasting life. The sea was sweet because sharks were such pure, majestic creatures, that when the light reflected on their smooth skin, it would turn the enzymes of the ocean water into sweet water. Flowers used to grow on the sea-surface, and the rain was so sweet it would nourish the lands with shimmering, sapphire-blue flora.

One such shark fell in love with a human. This was taboo, but she was the strongest of them all, and the most powerful, and no fish could grant her counsel. Using the magic of the ocean, she transforms herself into a woman. The man is immediately attracted upon meeting her. However, the shark being so pure at heart, is not accustomed to the world of humans, with all its deceit and lies. The man sells her into a circus for a large sum of money and abandons her. 

Betrayed, her pure heart blackens into stone, and so did her magic. She breaks out of her cage, and with the broken bars and the bones of her captors, she forms her castle of solitude, vowing to seek revenge on her once-true-love and all men like him. 

Decades go by, and her body ages due to all the dark magic she had casted. She returns to the sea. The magic wears off, her skin melts away, and her long dark locks disintegrate into foam. She transforms back into a shark, but her pearly skin is now scarred by the magic, and hurt by the love. Now feared as a predator and avoided by the other sea creatures she had spared from man’s exploitation, she cries herself to death. This is how the once sweet sea became a salty body of water.


The elements that bring Dark Tides together are darker and more sinister than the stories and colourful legends that Michelle drew inspiration from in her previous collections. This tale takes inspiration from many common-canon tales. Some muses whose stories have inspired this tale are Maleficient, and her transformation into a dark sorceress who would do anything to protect her forest and exact revenge for her betrayal. Other muses include Artemisia (300: Rise of An Empire); Black Lady, the temporary evil version of Chibi Moon from the Sailor Moon Universe; and a darker version of The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Andersen. 

To portray the night scenes that are vital to the mood of the story, prints that depict the dark waters where the shark came from are photographed in a swimming pool and desaturated to set the tone and setting of the collection. The smoke that symbolises mysticism and magic are made in-house, a team of photographers continuously photographed smoke for hours to get the right balance. The prints are printed on silk and neoprene, both fabrics of which make up most of the collection. Michelle uses traditional techniques on both traditionally-used fabrics and non-traditionally used fabrics. Hand-beaded embellishments on silk fabrics adorn the mandarin collar, cuffs, hips, and shoulders. Hand-made silk tassels by Lore Wristgems also adorn the bust of blazers, skirts, and hems of dresses. Triple side bust darts are constructed on some of the crop tops to depict shark gills, and additional rounded flaps inspired by shark fins are set to cover zippers on the back. All the tops in neoprene can be used in water. The collection also has several articles of clothing that can be toned down by taking off the beaded collar or cuffs, or be made edgier by adding a detachable extension to the hem of a skirt.