Following the Fashion East show in the Duveen Galleries at the Tate Britain on Saturday morning, Faustine Steinmetz had her presentation in the back of the gallery. Entering the space, large white cubes were dotted around the room. Approaching them, there was a peep hole with just enough room to view the clothes—which were stunning, might I say. Thomas Petherick, Faustine’s frequent collaborator, was responsible for the set design. Franz Erhard Walther inspired the colour-blocked inside of the cubes, which came in blue, yellow, orange and pink.
According to the Business of Fashion’s latest issue, Giorgio Armani designs 32 collections a year, to be dispensed to stores throughout the year. Conversely, Faustine has been rebutting fast fashion and mass production from the beginning. Her denim is all hand-loomed, in house at her studio near Seven Sisters. Everything in this collection was hand-embroidered. With 30 stockists worldwide, she is delivering to some extent but everything is more personable and couture-like with Faustine. Her couture practices make her collections that bit more enjoyable. To advance her business, Faustine hopes to move production to Senegal (where her parents grew up), creating fair-trade jobs for its inhabitants. Each piece would be branded with the weaver’s name.
Her arresting, architecturally sculptured pieces were amplified this season. A number of plastic bodices were rippled. In one cube, a glass box featured one and it appeared to look like a handbag. Rippled trousers were an extraordinary feat—making something so odd extremely beautiful and with an undeniable wearability (albeit you’d have to brave enough to pull them off). Dispensing the word “breakthrough” for Faustine’s last collection may have been a misfire. It was, but this collection is even more of a breakthrough for her. She eschewed entirely from denim this season, focusing on mohair and handcrafted yarns. From structural shapes to the fantastic set, this was her best collection. I’ll probably say that again in September.
Though the models were placed inside boxes, Faustine Steinmetz is stating loud and clear that she is not letting the fashion industry put her in a box.
All images are my own