A presentation space at a fashion show is generally an indicator as to what’s to come. For Jamie Wei Huang, who presented at her alma mater Central Saint Martins in London for the Fall 2017 season, it was a blank canvas, an opportunity to start afresh. In an intimate projection room, the anonymous space with white walls and flooring was decorated with garden chairs and verdant foliage: the atmosphere was refreshed, a replenishment to come. A breath of fresh air is always welcomed during fashion week; simply showing in North London meant Jamie’s guests were whisked away from the hustle and bustle of central, where all the fashion week events were taking place.
This was Jamie’s first catwalk presentation since the Spring 2016 season. Recently, she’s been showing via lookbook and in the BFC fashion week nuclei at Brewer Street Car Park and 180 The Strand. This also marked Jamie’s first time showing on the official London Fashion Week schedule, albeit with a placement on the digital schedule. On the topic of the intimate space, it allowed for all guests to be seated front row and indulge in her tailoring expertise and fabric innovation. Models strut to the booming soundtrack comprised of Depeche Mode and other 80s classics. (She’s always to be counted on for a smashing soundtrack; one of her earlier shows saw the blearing of the Nymphomaniac soundtrack, a fond memory of mine.)
The 80s for Jamie and many others have been the starting point for collections. Regression to “fun, old romanticised times of youth” have dominated the shows for the past three seasons. With the rise of Trump to power in America, the politicisation of this regression has posed many questions. Is complacency the best modus operandi, or is it the luxury we can no longer afford? Should clothing have to reference political discourse? For Jamie, her collection entitled ‘Lily’, set out to do what all her collections do: to make women feel great in what they are wearing. That message in itself is political, with notions of empowerment in our minds. There were bell-sleeved tops and flared trousers, incorporating the dance floor with practical workwear. Elements of playfulness shone through hither and tither with an emphasis on youthful, creative styling. Similarly, the metal trimmings and metallic patches were inspired efforts of enhancing tired wardrobe staples.
A recurring motif in Jamie’s collections is in the combination of leather and wool. Since her debut years ago, I have always been enamoured by the juxtaposition of the toughness of leather and the gentle nature of the soft wools. In this show, they came in a gorgeous wood green. It was indicative of how far Jamie has come and the design handwriting she has developed. It’s unmistakably her own, easily recognisable and conceded with the contrast between luxury and contemporary, and studying the borders between the two.
It’s confusing how Jamie is still under the radar. She has the necessary components to be a great fashion designer: she has a vision, and it is clear; she’s designing great product that deserves recognition; she has the attention of important stockists Dover Street Market and Farfetch—it’s time the press caught up. She’s London’s best kept secret at the moment.
All images are my own