Phoebe English? I feel like I know that name. Pat yourself on the back if you do, English is a sickeningly talented Central Saint Martins graduate whose MA collection was sold at Dover Street Market back in 2011. Phoebe English Ltd is ran by the designer’s business partner (and ex-The Shop at Bluebird buyer) Rose Easton. Check out the Crane.tv interview snippet where Phoebe talks about her creative process.
Enough about the talent, tell me about the clothes. For AW13, Phoebe showed her collection at the Freemason’s Hall as part of Vauxhall Fashion Scout. Shunning the traditional catwalk space downstairs, her AW13 efforts were presented to a packed house in the dark, moody and grand Vestibule. It was one of the more focused and cohesive collections of this season’s London Fashion Week with a largely muted colour palette (apart from some royal blue) and in the materials, gauze, raw cotton and taupe getting their moment to shine.
I spy some latex too? Well the invite was a clue but yes, models wore strips of it as skirts and all over the heels – just about the only movement as the looks stayed just-so hovering against the models’ bodies as they stiffly navigated the wooden structure, created by set designer Robert Storey, in the middle of the space. We say navigated as they were blindfolded by black fabric masks.
Blindfolded? Sounds saucy. Far from it. The collection is said to be an investigation into sightlessness so it’s a little more serious than plain old bedroom shenanigans. And there was something about the raw edges, seams and threads that made us think the garments on show had been manipulated into being by the designer rather than sketched out in all their precise detail first.
I take it the models didn’t look like they’d got dressed in the dark, then?
Hell no. English isn’t the most obviously commercial of designers but there’s a simplicity and elegance to this stripped back take on AW13 that we really think will stand her in good stead to enchant a sizeable proportion of the fashion pack. Most of the shapes perhaps wouldn’t look any good on anyone with curves (i.e. lumps and bumps) but they’re ideal for those slim, louche kind of girls who care more about lovingly crafted clothes than being on trend.
More images, videos and stockists at Phoebe English.