Tuesday, April 11, 2017

A.V. Robertson // Fall 2017 //

Much like her fellow Fashion East alumnus Richard Malone, Amie Robertson’s brand A.V. Robertson returned to the London Fashion Week schedule for a third season in a row. Her Fall 2017 show—‘The Secret Garden’—was presented at the Mondrian Hotel on a crowded Saturday afternoon.

Flowers are a dominant motif in Amie’s aesthetic, explaining the collection’s title. Florals aren’t by any stretch of the imagination compelling. One often recalls Miranda Priestley’s unforgettably sardonic quote from The Devil Wears Prada, “Florals? For spring? Groundbreaking”. Ironically, Amie’s florals are vividly odd, layered with science fiction references and nods to popular culture; not to mention, her fusion of couture with casual-wear is a remarkable characteristic of her work. For her debut season she explored the idea of “alien wanderers falling to Earth and their iridescent spores germinating in Earth’s fertile atmosphere.” In September she looked at the 1950’s film The Day of the Triffids, about a venomous plant species eradicating the Earth’s population. To Amie’s—and Mimi Wade and Richard Malone—disadvantage, the press attention last season was on newcomer, bright spark Matty Bovan. However, this season all eyes were on her, and the richly embellished florals.

English botanist Robert John Thornton and German photographer Karl Blossfeldt whose oeuvres punctuated the early 1800s and 1900s, respectively, were the two sources of inspiration. Thornton specialised in brightly hued illustrations of plant; there’s a certain darkness to be found in his work and it’s resonant in Amie’s, the spindly stems, the furling leaves, the strange shapes of the petals. Similarly, there’s something sinister in the work of Blossfeldt. His black and white photography of plants portrays them almost as unimaginably terrifying and moodily macabre. Amie established common ground between the two reference points. Her signature bold hues were juxtaposed with black contrasting panels. On each look, graphically lifelike petals leapt from the creations. 

Amie’s strength undoubtedly lies in her embellishment. She’s a fine tailor, but the sorcery of her embellishment is a strength that few other London designers can stake a similar claim. Her partnership with Swarovski is notable: the jewellery company have generously provided her with resources necessary to enrich her designs. 

Where is A.V. Robertson’s place in the world? It blends couture and casual, dark and light, serious and fun, beauty and perversity, maturity and youth. Her cross-section of pools provides an answer to that—there are plenty of possibilities as to who can shop here. Although I’m one for rebuking instant, lazy saleability, I would like to see Amie refine and simplify her aesthetic. In some looks, the stripes and floral arrangements became too much, it was an acidic assault on the eyes, but where she struck gold was with simpler looks, such as the emerald cardigan with scattered buds—that was when you could stop and smell the roses in her secret garden.
F Word Mag & Glam UK

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