Tuesday, May 31, 2016

A.V. Robertson // Fall 2016 //

Prior to her first fashion show, Amie Robertson appeared in the spring issue of Katie Grand’s Love magazine, alongside fellow Central Saint Martins graduate Matty Bovan. Last September, she designer illustrations for Marc Jacobs’ Spring 2016 celebration of flashy Americanism collection. Both those two powerhouse names behind you, your career as an emerging designer is given a welcomed and helpful boost. For her Fashion East presentation, Amie enlisted Grand as stylist, Anita Bitton as casting director, and seated Jacobs front row. Top models including Edie Campbell, Anna Cleveland, Georgia May Jagger, Lineisy Montero unexpectedly walked in this emerging designer’s show, the like of which is unheard of in London. It was a pleasant surprise, but as a fashion critic it encourages you to be a stricter reviewer; you’re interested in analysing whether or not this designer deserves the wealth of attention she’s receiving. 

Does she deserve the attention she’s receiving? Obviously, yes. Every young designer deserves all the attention in the world! But will too much attention taint her career? Possibly not. Amie has entered the fashion “system” (I still can’t bear to remove the inverted commas around the word), and she’ll probably start churning out two collections a year, while also consulting for brands. Perhaps, it would have been better to bide her time at Marc Jacobs, where she worked as a design assistant, which is not to discredit her talent. But that position would’ve accelerated her ability.

As depicted by this collection, Amie is a talented young woman with quirky stories to tell. Inspired this season by the the “otherworldly dreamscapes” that her childhood stories were based around, her collection was influenced by the idea of an alien arriving to earth, clothes sheathed in dust from their turbulent travels. Her “sci-fi phantasm” unfurled with swirling notions of femininity and masculine tailoring. Images of a 70s secretary came to mind, as well as Rihanna’s bad girl swagger. Printed on asymmetrical cut dresses and jackets were were iridescent flowers from “off-world.” There was an unearthly glamour to this collection, advanced by the stylish of the velvet footwear that punctuated each look.

To her advantage, Amie was the last to show her collection at the Fashion East presentation. Like her cohorts, Richard Malone, Caitlin Price, Amie completed a strong runway line-up with her design’s effortless attitude. Marc Jacobs, Katie Grand, Anita Bitton gave this collection a boost, but not undeservedly. Amie Robertson was made for a catwalk presentation, which suited her better than her predecessors on the day.

Photo Credit: jungle-magazine.co.uk

Monday, May 30, 2016

Xiao Li // Fall 2016 //

Two years ago, I was invited to Xiao Li’s fall 2014 presentation during London Fashion Week. The Royal College of Art-trained designer was accepting the Merit Award from Fashion Scout, which presented her with £25,000 to develop her business. Two years later, Li presented her first on-schedule show at LFW. Sponsored by Mercedes-Benz, Li’s collection closed out an action-packed, five day London Fashion Week. Her presentation was a mix between the artistic and the relaxed, a pleasant close to the week.

Inspired by Salvador Dalí, the Spanish surrealist painter, Li draws on his shapes for their collections. She could be described as a surrealist designer. Her work caught the eye of Azzedine Alaïa, Carla Sozzani, and I’m certain it was for her unique viewpoint on the manipulation of everyday shapes into something dreamy, something that slightly bends reality. On the garments, visible is the way the lines curve into pleasantly rounded bends and the pleasurable view of nicely cut garments that hug the body. Exceptionally, Li maintains a relatively simple colour palette of sky blue, white, black, maroon and lilac; allowing her shapeshifting ways to manifest itself across the model’s body.
Li’s attention to and awareness of the body is intriguing. In some looks, the body is swamped by fabric, though it’s far from frumpy. In others, it’s slimming. How it does it differ from her previous outings? Refinement. Perusing her archive, her journey as a designer can threads coherently back to her graduate collection. The development is clearly seen through her work, but this collection breaks new ground. She’s filtrated heavy ideas and simplified them into a seamless body of work.

The accessories in the collection were elemental in its execution. The models wore trainers which enabled the viewer to envision the modern woman wearing the clothes. A wavy necklace was like a piece of art dangling from a model’s neck. The stylish, cylindrical bags paired with most outfit was another addition to the collection that portrayed further development from Li as a designer, but also an intelligent commercial ploy to entice customers.

Li participated in the Mercedes-Benz International Design Exchange Program for this collection, between London and Beijing. Whether this means she won’t be returning to the BFC’s calendar in September remains to be seen. I’d like to see her back because she has an interesting voice, and I’m interested to hear more from her. 

Photo Credit: businessoffashion.com

Friday, May 27, 2016

Comme des Garçons // Fall 2016 //

Fashion, sometimes, should be unpredictable, theatrical. Rei Kawakubo understands this sentiment. The Japanese designer Comme des Garçons is both unpredictable and theatrical. For fall 2016, the idea was ‘18th century punks.’ Decoding that one should be some fun. 

The 18th century was the time of many revolutions. Kawakubo was imagining what punks would’ve adorned their bodies with in that epoch. Genius! The answer was encasing the body in 3-D, floating structures, constructing from tapestry panels; in some cases they were rolled to create the shape of flower petals. One look made of red leather baubles was bursting with mohair. Like a rose bush, with mohawks from hairstylist Julien d’Ys and 80s inspired shoes, the model bounced down the catwalk, the audience in awe-struck. 

There were flavours of Japan in the collection. Samurai armour could be clearly seen in the formation of a number of looks. Pieced together, red, blue, turquoise and pink tapestries made up the models armour. The next look was a lieutenants uniform, without a doubt. Imposing crimson leather arm panels and leg braces was punctuated with a floral top and trousers and a pink breastplate.
Armour is a recurring symbol for the current state of the world in designers’ collections. Everyone is susceptible to an attack, and shielding ourselves in clothing is commonplace.

To open and close the show, the attendees were graced with the formidable presence of Anna Cleveland (daughter of Pat Cleveland). Out she pranced, not an ounce of triviality, just sheer determination and grace, wearing a pink blazer, which at the shoulders, burst into a waterfall of ruffled pink fabric. 
A point of interest in this collection is the idea of “revolution.” The 18th century was the time of many. The French namely, revolted against the divine right of kings and all that stood for. Sourcing silks from Prelle and Bucol, it would be remiss of Kawakubo not to reference the country in which she hosts her collection and had a well-documented revolution, led by notable revolutionaries—who I hope would marvel at the sight of this collection.

Revolutionary is a strong word. Rei Kawakubo is a revolutionary. The preset ‘rules of fashion’ are ones which she happily disobeys and rebels against, to the delight of her bidding audience. These are the pieces that will end up in museums, because they are both technical (and technological) feats but also because they’re museum-worthy. They invoke an emotional response in the viewer, they highlight the rarity of a designer with enough confidence to rebel agains the god-awful ‘system.’ And also, this is a ‘would-be’ history lesson. What if punks were around in the 18th century? Now you know.
Photo Credit: dazeddigital.com

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Claire Barrow // Fall 2016 //

Claire Barrow penned a thoughtful essay for i-D a few weeks ago about her mental health and how it relates to her work. In the essay, towards the end, she mentions that “people are always trying to ‘redefine’, rehash, find the ‘hot new thing’ in fashion.” In response to this, Claire says that she experiences bitterness and arrogance because she feels like she is “doing it well” and it “pisses [her] off when that goes unnoticed by some.” 

I consider Claire a designer who is redefining fashion. I can only name but a few that are open to using street-cast models, “alternative” body shapes, genders, a variety of races in her collections. She’s in the 1% of designers that currently purvey that category. On the topic of categories, the genre which she slots into is entirely her own. She’s an unparalleled youngster with ideas, opinions and thoughts of her own. She translates these to her work, often politicising fashion to evoke a message of anger, disgust, annoyance, fear. It’s rather artistic. Therein lies her niche: a political, emotional, personal convergence of art and fashion. 

For this collection, influences included Edwardiana, punk sensibilities, the 90s. There was colourful make-up and daring hairstyles, black-soled shoes (which conjured images of subdued punk), and ruffled gowns. The extravagance of the empire-waist ball gowns in the collection was indicative of the museum setting. Mannequins were outfitted in the pieces, models wore the rest. Placed on slightly elevated podiums, each look was accompanied by a curator’s notes. This exhibition was an exploratory journey through the ages from the early 1900s to 2016—where Instagram culture rehashes 90s aesthetica. Barrow, a nineties kid, offers her two cents on the decade she grew up in, and it didn’t come off as an Instagram research project that designers are oh so fond of. 

Some presentations are clearly designed for Instagram. Fortunately, a slew of emerging designers in London imbue honesty in their work. There’s no convolution or flashiness, just great clothes in an environment adapted around them. Claire held her presentation in the Institute of Contemporary Arts, the BFC Presentation Space. The space is quite fitting with regards to Claire’s work given she is an expert illustrator, and merges the mediums of art and fashion.

Claire’s collections aren’t featured by the mecca of online catwalk imagery: Vogue Runway—despite their involvement with the label and the designer. Her work isn’t featured on the cover of magazines (though Claire appears on the latest Riposte) … but that’s a blessing in a way. She’s revolutionising her own view of fashion and that’s important, and whether people want to be a part of it or not, that’s their decision. However, if they’re missing out on this, then they seriously need a reality check.
Photo Credit: clairebarrow.com

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Jamie Wei Huang // Fall 2016 //

Jamie Wei Huang opted against a catwalk presentation for fall 2016. She didn’t host a presentation in its absence, but she did display her latest collection at the Designer Showrooms at Brewer Street Car Park. The London-based designer was missed on the schedule; her alternative designs for the contemporary woman were noticeably absent from my scheduling during fashion week. Thankfully, lookbook images were provided for the collection.

‘Lily’ she titled it. Inspired by the 40s and the post-war depressive economy and class systems, Jamie explored her thematic influences in a “lightly satirical” way, infusing her personal stamp on the weighty inspiration. 40s tailoring was modernised and given a complex twist by the designer. Experimenting with asymmetrical hemlines on trouser legs and skirts, as well as coupling them with buttons and bows, was the first innovative exploration of the decade. Her heavy coats represented the winter months following the war but also the general mood of the time: weighed down by personal and financial struggles, the inability to move with life after a crippling time during the war. I saw this as a counterpoint to the colour-blocking—synonymous with the 40s; painting a portrait of those that fared better in society, and how they blissfully continued their life in an easy fashion, while others suffered.

The dialogue that Jamie pushed is similar to the one around us presently. Economies need stabilisation, growth and development. There’re those that are disadvantaged in society, mistreated based on financial standpoint, race, sexual orientation, religion. She also commented on gender in the collection, such as retranslating the 40s stereotypes of ‘elegance’ and ‘femininity’ for the modern customer. Many pieces are loose fit, presenting a unisex offering for the customer. The way that Jamie deftly defied notions of perfectly packaged femininity of yore was admirable. Her woman is an active agent in her own life, a citizen of the world, refusing to conform with classist ideals.

There are benefits to presenting in a showroom, allowing for the clothes to be inspected closely. What’s lost is their sense of character, how they move when the model strides down the catwalk, the music choice. However, the clothes spoke loud enough to convey a message. It also confirmed Jamie’s position as a designer that deserves recognition from the BFC’s official schedule. 

Photo Credit: jamieweihuang.com

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Christopher Shannon // Fall 2016 // Menswear

There was a time when to make it in fashion you had to be in either New York, London, Paris or Milan. Honestly, that’s still the case; except now there are a few more cities that offer viable careers in fashion, for example, Sydney, Seoul. The options are still limited. Most Irish designers leave the country to study, train and work in London; English designers too, choose to part their city in favour of the capital. As an aspiring journalist, I realise that London or New York will eventually beckon. The rigidity of the entire fashion industry will hopefully be challenged, to offer a more democratic approach to the rapidly growing industry. 

Christopher Shannon referenced the “Comfort and Horror” of his hometown, Liverpool. There’s the comfort of growing up at whichever geographical location you do, and how that swathes you in a virtually invincible security blanket. But then comes the horror—the impossibility of succeeding in that place. 

It must be easy for designers, when you they have succeeded, to look back at the realities of their hometowns, as Shannon has done here. The man in this collection was inspired by his babysitter’s boyfriends. Flavouring the collection with his chutzpah was a given: the models wore patchwork shirts, short shorts, thick fleece jackets, sporty bombers, parkas, plastic raincoats, joggers and sweaters. Punctuated with white Reeboks, the collection was an ode the easily readable Liverpudlian male, from late teens to mid-twenties. 

90s experimentalism was at the core of this collection’s spirit. A pink turtleneck half-zip was styled with a bomber jacket, blue jeans and Reeboks. The same can be said for the summery shorts that showed up. It captures the generation that Shannon grew up surrounded by. It’s also reflective of what’s happening in men’s fashion today. These are the clothes that men really wear: bombers, shirts, jeans. The 90s experimentalist aesthetic is returning, and thankfully there’re honest portrayals of it out there—like this.

They say to write what you know; designing what you know is similar. The Shannon man isn’t the figment of the designer’s imagination, he’s a very much real entity. He’ll be brave enough to wear upper-thigh-grazing shorts during the summer months, but he’s also fond of tracksuit bottoms and bomber jackets, and not afraid to wear bubblegum pastels and loud brights. Chances are, you probably know a Christopher Shannon man. And he’s not limited to New York, London, Paris or Milan.
Photo Credit: voguerunway.com

Monday, May 23, 2016

Gabriel Vielma // Fall 2016 //

A popular source of inspiration for designers is American filmmaker, Wes Anderson’s films. Visible at most fashion weeks, Anderson’s iconic films permeates many seasonal moods. The two films you see most often are The Royal Tenenbaums and The Grand Budapest Hotel. Gabriel Vielma, in London, was inspired by a different Anderson film: The Life Aquatic with Zissou. The film imparted the nautical references that this collection focuses on. Sailor braids inspire the intricate suede detailing on outerwear; nautical knits are another dimension. Printed on an saffron-hued dress was a flock of blue seabirds. 

It’s easy to see how The Life Aquatic inspired this collection—the naval references, the quirkiness—but it was a different Wes Anderson film that sprung to mind for me when viewing this collection, Moonrise Kingdom. The aesthetic of this collection gravitates more towards the 2012 coming-of-age film. The hair and make-up in the collection reminded me of Kara Hayward’s character Suzy Bishop, the young woman that the main character falls in love with. The colours, too, evoke the tone of that movie. 
It’s not difficult to see why designers seek inspiration in those films. They have a lot of things to bring to collections. For one, romance. The whimsical nature of Anderson’s films lends itself well to the production of a collection, offering it a believable narrative. The aesthetics of the film collides beautifully with the fashion industry. The colours and the tint on Anderson’s films can transform a lifeless collection into a peculiarly-coloured celebration of pastels and sunset-licked hues. The influential characters in the films play muse to many designers. Young Zero Moustafa from The Grand Budapest Hotel, in his bellboy garb; Gwyneth Paltrow as Margot Tenenbaum; the lovebirds from Moonrise Kingdom; Jason Schwartzman in Rushmore. Well-known films to the general public, it’s easy for a customer to tap into the recognisability of these singular characters. Although, Vielma didn’t clearly land on one character or film, he did offer his own riff on the inspirations which had its own sensibilities. 

The press release was adamant on its nautical references, but viewing this collection offered many more facets. Whiffs of aviation, avian subtleties, army uniforms, etc. The ideas were all there, but they needed more time, and more looks to be fleshed out. Budget constraints make that impossible, obviously, but perhaps a better curated selection of pieces makes a stronger impact next season.
All images are my own

Friday, May 20, 2016

Erdem // Fall 2016 //

The Erdem woman has always been clearly defined. She’s a lady who lunches, a gallery curator, a writer, a high-flying CEO. Erdem Moralioglu is probably the most consistent designer at London Fashion Week. He may contribute to the ubiquity of cocktail wear, but it’s not just cocktail wear. There’s an undoubted intelligence and depth to his work; from sourcing of inspiration, to the theatrical display of a collection. 

Once again, the Canadian-born, London-based designer collaborated with production designer and artistic director Robin Brown to create a wondrous set. Crammed with chandeliers, decadent seating—a grandiose affair. Inspired by Hitchcock, 1940s opera designer Oliver Messel’s love for the ornate, Cecil Beaton’s love for country house parties, the scene was perfectly set. The room was filled with trellis archways, a polar bear model sheathed in dusty linens, chandeliers, giant dahlia’s, balustrades, cartouches and the like. Models strutted to the soundtrack of All About Eve, adding a further snapshot of yore. Encapsulating audiences prior to the first model hitting the runway is a difficult task, but a magnificent set design has the ability to just that. And in the case of Erdem, the clothes are never overshadowed.

1920s shifts, 1930s bias-cut gowns, 1940s tailoring were on the agenda for the season. Shimmering embellishments, crushed velvet, floral print, detailed lacework, a venture into houndstooth, and the heavily-Instagrammed gold fringe. The models appeared to be wrapped in an iridescent layer of gold or silver, floating down the catwalk, stepping out of films from a bygone era. 

Erdem references the past in a unique way. His stamp is unmistakeable, whether it be through shape or fabrication, it’s clear that you’re viewing a collection from him. He’s also found the symbiosis between fashion design and set design. A modern-day Dietrich or Gertrude Lawrence would be clamouring for a chance to play a part in Erdem’s theatre. Theatre is a huge facet of Erdem’s work. There was the grand piano of spring 2014, the collaborations with Brown commencing with fall 2015; his work is enriched by the addition of theatricality. And as I previously stated, that’s not problematic where he is concerned, because he is capable of merging two worlds to strengthen his output. He’s a superb showman, and London is lucky to be graced with his presence.
Photo Credit: footwearnews.com, robinbrown.studio.com

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Edeline Lee // Fall 2016 //

“A return to simplicity,” was Edeline Lee’s mission statement for fall 2016. The Canadian-born, London-based designer was compelled to “simplify, pull back, minimise, declutter, underexpose, eat cleaner food, air out inboxes, stop keeping up with the Joneses, turn off [her] iPhone and go off the grid.” Frankly, she wants this wholesome, fulfilling, experiential lifestyle for all of us. You can’t blame her. Technology dominates our lives. Everyday companies are finding new ways to incorporate it into our lives. It’s becoming more and more difficult to take a breather from it which, as great as it is, is necessary. Lee applied the above statement to her design process this season; removing colour-blocking from her line-up, opting to focus on clean lines and purer shapes. The result was tremendous, but it took me a while to warm to the collection—perhaps because she discounted her signature. Generally, I can leave a presentation with a strong feeling of like or dislike, but this one veered into dangerous territory of indifference. Months later, revisiting the collection, I realised the importance of stripping back aesthetics and refocusing. It allows for a designer to explore different avenues, and to disprove naysayers that may claim a designer to be one thing. It’s akin to stepping away from technology: it’s sorely missed, but ultimately, beneficial.
Simplifying her work equated to exploring fluid shapes. There were unstructured wool coats, edged with contrasting 3-D dimensional piping. Distorted floral imagery was printed on a dress, that was in a shape entirely different to everything Lee designed heretofore. Always inspired by minimalism pertaining to shapes, the subtraction of colour worked wonders for a number of looks. It allowed time to appreciate cut and shape. Illusion panelling on dresses was another addition to her repertoire.

Hosted at the Vinyl Factory, Lee’s presentation was designed by Switzerland-based artist Kyung Roh Bannwart, who created an “abstract landscape.” Black and white panels contrasted the shredded paper mounds dotted around the space. Models stood near and far, playing to the idea of an optical illusion, which could be seen in the collection. The art crowd are staunch supporters of Lee’s work, given her “sophisticated” aesthetic. This collection, styled primarily with black boots, may begin to attract a slightly different customer. However so, they’ll be taken by functional, utilitarian outerwear. 

Lee has pulled back the blinds, so to speak, and exposed us to her true strengths.
All images are my own

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Sharon Wauchob // Fall 2016 //

It’s always amusing—sometimes humourous—reading a designer’s Wikipedia page. Generally, it’s full of information that has definitely been filed by someone outside the fashion industry. You can generally tell through the wording. Mislabeling a designer’s aesthetic is commonplace. Combing through Northern Irish designer Sharon Wauchob’s page and you’ll find that she apparently “specialises in ‘alternative’ fashion.” Massive eye-rolling ensues. Designers are often done an injustice regarding the way their designs are interpreted. Personally, I’d describe Wauchob as a sharply focused designer with thoughtfulness, and an eye for surface detail. 

Wauchob’s skills were honed in when she went to Paris, after completing her degree at Central Saint Martins. She worked at Louis Vuitton, and never severed ties with LVMH; she served as creative director for Ali Hewson and Bono’s label Edun for a number of seasons. Koji Tatsuno was also instrumental in her learning and development as a designer. As with Phoebe English yesterday, Japanese influences pervade Wauchob’s work. Elegant drapery, experimentalism push through. This September, Wauchob is hoping to join the British Fashion Council’s official programming for London Fashion Week. Showing her last presentation during Paris Fashion Week in February, her fall 2016 showing was a bittersweet goodbye to the city that housed her creativity over the past decade.

Paris’s presence was felt in the graceful effortlessness of the collection. The lookbook imagery featured a model, as she casually strides across Wauchob’s Marais studio. Wearing loose slip dresses, faux-fur filets, embroidered wool jackets, delicate evening dresses and lovely suiting. The film Midnight in Paris sprung to mind. Woody Allen’s dreamy portrayal of the City of Light sees Owen Wilson’s character meet Zelda Fitzgerald, Josephine Baker, and Alice B. Tolkas. This collection felt like a modern day incarnation of those three creatives. Like a film, like the above three’s work, the collection was highly emotive. It contained narrative—something that noticeably lacks from collections these days. You could visualise the woman going to work, going to an event, travelling, carrying out her daily life.

Sharon Wauchob’s aesthetic isn’t “alternative”, as Wikipedia may have you believe. Instead, it could be either labelled “realist” or “subverted Japanese minimalism, told through a Northern Irish lens”, which reverts back to the statement of realism. A collection like this won’t let you forget that. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Phoebe English // Fall 2016 //

Outlets such as the Daily Mail have been plastering fishtail gowns and couture across their feeds for the past couple of days, and that can only mean one thing: the Cannes Film Festival has arrived. Commencing last Wednesday and concluding this Sunday, the internationally renowned festival is the creme of the crop where film festivals are concerned. Over the years, red carpet dressing became a large facet of the festivities and it was something that I once got a lot of enjoyment out of. Nowadays, however, red carpet dressing is soulless and dull, floundering in the depths of despair. Quite the contrary, the festival’s lineup this year is impressive. There’s been Woody Allen’s new feature, Sean Penn’s anticipated directorial return, and a buzzed-about performance from Kristen Stewart in Olivier Assayas’ Personal Shopper. Premiering this Friday is Nicolas Winding Refn’s The Neon Demon. Starring Elle Fanning, the film follows “an aspiring model in Los Angeles whose beauty and youth place her in significant danger amongst the women she becomes associated with in the industry. This film feels pertinent to Phoebe English’s production for Fall 2016. Presenting during London Fashion Week, English featured ten models wearing ten looks (to celebrate her 10th collection) waiting around in a casting setting. They took a ticket from a number dispensing machine, waited, before being inspected by a supervisor. Filmed, it could be worthy for the Courts Métrages!

English’s presentation evoked a slightly tone than just the maltreatment of models. There was commentary on the speed of fashion, the dispensing machine playing the role of the conveyer belt of ideas, or schizophrenic collections. The waiting around was symbolic of endless time wasted, sitting around before shows, in traffic, that could be spent productively at shows, visiting showrooms and attending presentations, like this. You’re not just getting a thought-provoking spectacle, but well-crafted clothing also. Slightly 17th century, English played with proportion of shirting, dresses and tops. Elements of Japanese aesthetics permeated this collection, as they have in the past. English has used Japanese methods in her collections before. Consistent and confident with her own handwriting, these clothes were a counterpoint to the notion of schizophrenic collections, whose ideas alter seasonally.

A young, self-assured designer, Phoebe English’s handwriting is known. It’s quiet yet effortlessly makes a loud statement. Proportionally defiant, tonally shy, these clothing are not simple or not wild, they reach a middle ground. Potent is her aesthetic, which cements her standing as a London designer not to be missed.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Sid Neigum // Fall 2016 //

“Mathematics holds both the absolute and the infinite, the understandable and the forever elusive,” was the quote from Le Corbusier, The Modulor printed atop the Sid Neigum press release during London Fashion Week. The Toronto-based designer arrived in London this season, for a collaboration with DHL Exported. After a long Sunday, Neigum had the honour of closing out the night. Wandering through the presentation, I bumped into Susie from Style Bubble, witnessed a heavily intoxicated man calling out the British Fashion Council on their decision to host LFW in a car park, and got to see a Canadian on the rise create a mathematically influenced collection. 

Neigum was inspired by how Le Corbusier (a Swiss architect) “harnessed the proportions of the human body to perfect his architectural works.” Meandering through the show space, you saw the cloth wrap, repel, hug, attack the body. A large black poncho sat on the model like an asymmetric shield, definition hailing from the white piping. A sandy-hued dress contained multiple folds. It looked like a complicated mathematical equation, yet it was simply solved: a slightly lofty, yet incredibly elegant number. 

While the aesthetic may be difficult to grasp for some, due to its complex nature, with odd lines and curvatures, the brand values “innovation, experimentation and quality.” Manufactured in his place de naissance, Canada, the clothes are made of premium Italian fabrics. Employing technology to bring them to life, Neigum’s process is a mix between the very topical idea of ‘Manus x Machina’, the Costume Institute’s latest exhibition. Should any museum explore maths further in an exhibition, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Neigum as a fixture in the line-up. 

Mathematics can produce great imagery in collections—the way it can influence shape, right down to its direct influence on the cut of the fabric, which has to be precise. This designer slots nicely into the overcrowded designer landscape, with his complex creations and unique, obscure vision. Similarly, the Sid Neigum’s woman is the perfect mix of understandable and the forever elusive. 
All images are my own