For Louise Trotter at Joseph, the art of dressing is a psychological process. To her the most attractive women are the ones who dress for themselves rather than anyone else. Secondly, her tenure at the brand founded in 1982 has been characterised by her subtle departure from the masculine overtones that dominated the label in the 1980s, when the brand was for women and designed by men. A woman at the helm of a house like Joseph, formerly designed by a man, is always an interesting shift for it spotlights the shift in perspective. A woman designing for women will offer a different point of view to a man designing for women, quite simply.
Despite Trotter’s subtle subversion of the brand, it hasn’t been well-documented by the fashion press. In fact, one might say it has been unfairly underreported. She joined the label in 2009 but in the past year there has been an influx of press attention.
For Fall 2017 Trotter explored the infusion of traditionally feminine codes into the masculine wardrobe. She took suiting and men’s tailoring and subverted it with looser silhouettes with an elevated element of flounce. Blazers were presented in rich floral patterns (the Balenciaga-esqe ones) and lace trimming was added to blouses; trousers were fashioned in blue silk and pink bodysuits contrasted with military green.
This season marked the first time Trotter used heels in her show. Filled with a pragmatic air, the house endeavoured to create a pair that didn’t obstruct walkability. The designer ensured that these were fully-functioning, adaptable and reliable wardrobe additions for the customer.
Joseph prides itself on pragmatism and its approach to beautifully practical outerwear. The notion of the uniform serves as a cornerstone to the brand’s outfit and Trotter has long been fascinated by them; as a child she despised her school uniform and she sought ways to disrupt the uniformity of it and personalise it. At Joseph she seeks to find multiple answers to the question: what is the everyday wardrobe? To her, it is perfection. Her clothes strive to achieve the highest order of functionality without removing the dream quality to fashion. Yes, there were whiffs of Demna Gvasalia’s Balenciaga iteration and some of his Vetements output, but her designs were positioned in the centre of the two—where dreams and the quotidian converge. In the most basic sense: Joseph is the convergence between dreams and the quotidian.