The roots of Capillum began with Kieu’s highly experimental making processes in creating human hair yarn. With a collection that carries an eerie theme of life and death, she transforms this waste material into something new and exciting. Collecting many hair strands including her own, and working with a professional handspinner, fine human hair yarn was created. She demonstrates the huge potential of hair, with high tensile strength being one of the many attractive qualities.
Human hair has historically been used in lace, and after researching the V&A’s collection on hairy lace that date back to 1680, Kieu felt it was important to reinvent it in a contemporary collection, whilst also using the opportunity to broaden her knowldegde of constructed textiles. Taking this chance to learn bobbin lacemaking, she demonstrates the versatility of hair, intricate structures and how a combination of both weaving and lace work beautifully together in a collection.
Capillum also features the use of horsehair, which seems to be more acceptable as a material compared to human hair. Dyeing horsehair in many vivid colours, her woven trims are a brilliant juxtaposition to the dark natural unruliness of the hairy lace pieces. She believes that hair is a lively material, and she allowed the natural drape of the strands to guide her on how to design the adornments around the body, with various delicate braiding and fringing techniques.