It’s a mystery sometimes, the things that hide out in our creative unconscious just waiting for a chance to resurface in some new and unexpected way. Years ago, L.A. native Laurel Consuelo Broughton was going through what she describes as a “surrealist writer phase”—a rite of passage, perhaps, for comparative literature majors—when Babylon, an 85-year-old book by French author Rene Crevel, truly captured her imagination. After receiving her master’s of architecture from SCI_arc, she established Welcome Projects, a multidisciplinary studio and outlet for Welcome Companions—fashion-forward design concepts conceived for “everyday play” with a surrealist bent.
Mr. Knife, Miss Fork is the brand’s latest debut, a compelling and somewhat strange series featuring six functional elements connected via a narrative thread that originated with Crevel’s unique work of fiction. “I’d always loved the way the little girl in the novel uses objects to personify people,” Broughton tells Co.Design. (The plot description is incredibly complex and sounds like an amazing read—I bought myself a used copy.) She points to a particular passage from the 1927 original that became the basis for her new work:
Now we’re going to take a trip. Every night we’ll have a new room, but always with the twin beds as close as possible to each other, and we’ll talk a long time before going to sleep. We’ll stay in bed late every morning. We’ll eat in dining cars, and so that nobody will recognize us I’ll call you Miss Fork. You, you’ll call me Mr. Knife, and people will think we’re a Spanish couple on our honeymoon.
Once the story was set, the design process itself was “fairly fluid,” Broughton says. “I often use a narrative as a kind of set piece.” The items themselves necessitate a second look, as she’s constructed a world where a derby hat doubles as a handbag; a glove is, in fact, a coin purse; and a headscarf is printed with a motif of luxurious tresses. Each manages to fit into the tale with a bit of a wink. “I’m interested in the way objects get coded with meaning through culture,” she says. “As the pieces get used out in the world, our stories get to be a part of other larger stories.”