Phoebe English collection presentation S/S 2016 for LFW
Spliced, jagged seams, multiple layers of fabric and frayed hemlines stood on a floor of shattered glass, whilst jarring discordant chords and faint voices echoed above. This exploration between the deconstructed and reconstructed was carried on to the body, governing Phoebe English’s garments.
Garlands of red velvet frills overhung sheer, disassembled and oversized layers in black, white and beige, as though English had used a skilled surgeon’s knife to dissect and carefully reassemble her spring/summer 2016 collection. How topical then to introduce her latest work at the Royal College of Surgeon’s – home to the rather gruesome yet intrinsically beguiling Hunterian Museum.
Having recently relocated her studio and team from Hackney to Deptford, it felt like a natural progression for English to translate this new beginning by taking apart then rebuilding materials over the body. Double and triple layers of strapped black and white silk textures formed shirts, dresses and skirts, worn with crêpe and linen draped skirts – the hems of which were fraying. Models wore flat, Japanese-style leather sandals with open backs, echoing the cut-out elements of the garments.
Phoebe English took full advantage of her new, larger studios by using the space to explore surface and texture with hand-woven, almost Arte Povera inspired canvas and plastic weaves intertwined jauntily over the models. String was used to cinch in the oversized linen waists, bandage style straps were patched across the top and backs, and heat-set pleats hung down adding volume in flax. Shorts, soft crêpe shirts and loose-fitting straps incorporated elements of masculine style tailoring, timely after English showed her first menswear collection in June.
With the precision of a fine surgeon, Phoebe English expertly brought together these disrupted textures, layering the body with ease in order to produce a beautiful collection of exquisitely reconstructed outfits.
Photos: Krish Nagari