Monday, July 30, 2018

A.V. Robertson's World of Bowie and Botanics // Fall 2018

In London, to be a successful designer is to be a miracle worker. You have to have the press on your side, the influencers, and the buyers. Usually, the press comes first. (London’s designers can often rely on hype to develop connections with retailers.) 

Amie Victoria Roberston, or A.V. Robertson as she is known, was one of those designers to accumulate press attention in 2016. Why? She presented as part of Lulu Kennedy’s incubator for emerging talents, Fashion East. Robertson’s segment was styled by Katie Grand, editor of Love and contributor to W, and her former employer, the designer Marc Jacobs, sat front row. Models in the show included Edie Campbell, Anna Cleveland, and Georgia May Jagger—veritable It-girls on the fashion circuit. 

But they’ve all since moved onto Robertson’s compatriot, Matty Bovan.

However, Robertson didn’t shy away from a challenge. Following her two-season stint at Fashion East, she hosted a standalone static presentation at the Mondrian Hotel, separate to the official schedule. She took a pause and returned to London Fashion Week in February 2018, for Fall 2018, with a catwalk display at St. Andrew’s Church in Holborn. 

Without being reductive, her schtick is decorating with dainty, floral (Swarovski) crystals and styling it with punk-inspired patterns. She lists David Bowie as an influence, whose style she harbours a “long-term love affair with,” according to the press release. Something else Robertson is fond of is extraterrestrial references—an alien coming to earth was a narrative that shaped a previous collection. She conveyed that here with diaphanous layers of iridescent silk organza over trousers and experimenting with lustrous lamé.

The ornamentation is what elevated Robertson’s work, and it’s also the defining feature. Her “botanical bursts” are intricate and exude vibrancy. In parts, it injected vitality, where the fabrication and silhouettes faltered. Perhaps due to a lack of resources, the textiles and pattern cutting wasn’t up to scratch.

Robertson’s work hasn’t caught on in the same way as her contemporaries. Her work isn’t enthralling and the styling wasn’t as polished this season. It’s lost some of its lustre that was a draw in other collections. Not only this, Robertson’s visual language is well-established, she’s risking being a one-hit wonder if she doesn’t expand next season. 

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