Dear Shaded Viewers and Diane,
If few are the labels that can make us whoop, fewer still are the ones we welcome with a sigh of relief. But a 1205 show is known to have on its guests something akin to a balsamic effect, and SS16 was no exception. Less intrusive or assertive than many of its peers, the collection is cradled by principles of patience and restraint, which find sartorial expression in textiles, such as a feathery Japanese jersey pleat, or colours, with rarefied variations on salt, anthracite and rust. Inspired by a romanticized idea of the life of nomads in the arid landscapes of the Atlas Mountains, designer Paula Gerbase wanders themes of vulnerability, and the nobleness of surrender to the elements. Her models wear ribbed, hugging long dresses, or lightweight culottes and shirts with three-quarter sleeves and chaste necklines, gathered at the waist with a gentle knot. They’re all paired with sensible, pristine white Nikes and some envelope satchels worn like backpacks, with crossed straps on the upper chest. Their diagonal movement is echoed again in a series of leather sleeveless tops, smooth and matte, while blazers and long skirts in papery cotton swish softly as they pass by – close enough to let us admire the weave. In case we missed it, fabric swatches have been left on the benches, for the audience to study and pet throughout the show. There’s a basketweave debossed suede, and a wavy threadwork linen that looks almost windswept. Not so many are the designers confident enough to let you peek this close, but Gerbase with her Savile Row background, has all to gain from it. There are a few more who can pull off something similar: Faustine Steinmetz is one, and palmer//harding as well. In the shadow of the spectacle parade, a new niche appears to be forming: one focused on grammar and grain, texture and touch.