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Over the last weekend, designers, bloggers and photographers descended onto Soho for London Fashion Week’s Spring and Summer 2017 collections. The sense of excitement around Brewer Street Car Park – the main exhibition space – was undeniable, and this was mirrored in the styles of those either attending the shows or trying to catch a glimpse of any VIP who reared their heads. I was lucky enough to visit the Teatum Jones catwalk and experience the Edeline Lee presentation over the weekend and have finally had time to gather my thoughts for a brief review.
Starting with the smaller of the two collections, Edeline Lee’s S/S 2017 collection – one inspired by the post-Brexit idea of an ‘ode’ to London. The Elms Lesters Painting Rooms provided a brilliant home for her collection; immersed in the chaos of Charing Cross Road, they still provided space and light to showcase the array of colours Lee worked with. The ubiquitous, everyday motifs distilled from the graphic detritus of contemporary life drew you in once you entered the rooms. What stood out most from the collection was the stark juxtapositions between the colours and cutting – minimalist shapes alongside maximalist textures.
Displaying the garments against Kyung Roh Bannwart’s photographs of London textures, including the back alleys of Soho against the neoclassical stones in Mayfair only enhanced the contrasts. Whilst these helped highlight the boldness of the collection, this was an interesting approach to the post-Brexit London Lee described, when most of London seeks to draw people into the city, rather than bring about division. Perhaps this is reading into the message too much, as Lee was making the opposite statement. As she says, ‘Everything you need is in London’. Regardless, the collection was bold and the care which was put into each garment was evident. A bright and striking womenswear collection, which is most-needed for London this year.
Moving on to the larger collection, for both Menswear and Womenswear – the Teatum Jones catwalk. This was the debut menswear capsule collection for Rob and Catherine, even though masculinity has featured prominently in their previous womenswear collections, and the team definitely played with this idea. It is clear the collection is designed to blur the lines between the traditional male/female view of gender. Men’s merino wool t-shirts with oversized pockets, both in bright primary colours and pastel hues were as invasive as the message around the non-binary sexuality the collection was inspired by. Skirts and trousers combined sharp daggers and random splashes of colour and black against white to form patterns that represent the sweaty sexual energy of Glaswegian house ravers in the 19th century.
The menswear and womenswear collections were grouped by three intense and powerful colour palettes. The intricate navy lacework on the women dresses provided a sheer front to the body. British woven jacquards combine deep intense romantic palettes on the right side of sheen, to allow them to take their place on the ‘boundary’ between men and women tailoring.
Teatum Jones sought to make this collection a visual open letter of thanks to Scotland for their legal protection they offer lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people. Personally, as someone who believes this community finds its home within fashion and the world of art – as I do – this collection played with the tired view of gender and sexuality, and threw intense colours and passion into the collection. It was a joy to see everyone celebrate the collection in open arms, in the same way London and Scotland are very much open.
By Matt Measor
Third Year Maths and Economics Undergraduate
LSE SU Fashion Society Secretary