It was last year that a good friend introduced me to the brilliant and uplifting work of Charlotte Taylor. As I leafed through her A/W 2010 look book, I was hooked by the individualism – a collection of stand out, repeated prints, but within a tailored and feminine design. It was a unique combination of tweed, navy and printed penguins, which worked through heritage driven shapes such as capes, shift dresses and swinging hemlines.
I knew I had to get my hands on a ticket to go and see her next show. Charlotte was presenting her S/S 2011 collection as part of the Vauxhall Fashion Scout’s ‘Ones To Watch’ schedule. A mature transgression was made, but it kept the clear signature established in her first collection. It was quirky, but the English themes of grandma’s and heritage were displaced by a modern feel – bad robots, cut-out panels, younger shapes and a sporty aesthetic. A fresher palette of rust and denim blue sat alongside the yellows and creams from A/W 2010, with the luxurious silks only adding to its appeal.
Impressed and wanting to know more, I asked Charlotte if she would do an interview with me for Amelia’s Magazine. Unfortunately, she had to decline my offer. There were changes in the business, and as it stood, the label was on hold for the immediate future. I was disappointed that this collection would not go into production, and that the label, it appeared, would not continue.
So it was with delight that I came across Charlotte’s work again in June this year. Her blog was up and running, and she had produced an A/W 2011 collection. It is a rich splendour of jewel colours and madcap prints, such as ants, elephants, lobsters, and the carried over penguin. The colours clashed, the soft silks were still there, and this time tied up with an exotic feel that was inspired by a trip to Kenya that Charlotte had taken. The label had been stripped back to its signature feature – the prints. Rethought, and redefined, it was great to see the label back and doing business.
From this Friday, Charlotte will be exhibiting her new S/S 2012 collection at London Fashion Week. She let me have a preview of the new range, and answered some of my questions.
Charlotte Taylor is back after a season out. Where have you been, and are you excited to be showing again at London Fashion Week?
Well I didn’t actually take a proper season out… For S/S 2011 we decided not to go forward with production. I felt that the label needed more of an identifiable product and image and that it wasn’t portraying the message that I wanted it to. That’s why I decided to focus on the prints. Hence A/W 2011 was a print and colour frenzie! I decided not to show the collection at fashion week and instead to go around to many of our key retailers and show it in person to the owners and the buyers to get their direct feedback. It was a very useful experience and I also love building relationships with people, emails and telephones are not personable.
I am however really excited about showing at LFW and being back in the buzz of it. Last year I went to look around the BFC space at Somerset House and I had to be escorted around and then out the door. It felt a million miles away!
What can we expect in the new S/S 2012 collection? What are the influences?
It’s influenced by Japanese Art and Culture, Bee Keeping and Fishing. It’s very colourful and it’s moved on from last season, whilst still retaining a strong Charlotte Taylor look. I would say that it has grown up a fraction, but only a fraction!
What are the main techniques and materials that you have used in the collection?
Well it’s all print focused again but I’ve used the same prints in different colourways and scales and combined them within the same piece. I have also used Crepe back satin, which has a high shine along side a matt Double Georgette to add further contrast. The silhouettes are simple, elegant and their wearabilty factor is deeply considered. With the bold aspect of the prints, elegant and simple silhouettes are vital.
You’re going to be launching a collection for Anthropologie USA in October 2011 – can you tell me any more about this?
Yes! We are launching our diffusion line with Anthropologie which will have a slightly lower price point and will be sold in their stores in the States. It’s a fantastic collaboration as we fit perfectly – both print lovers! They are also a fantastic team and I have complete creative control, which is sometimes not the case in such unities.
What else does 2012 hold for Charlotte Taylor?
Well – who knows! But we would love to expand our reach abroad….especially Asia as we feel it could work so well out there. I would also love to expand our product range but I won’t get too specific about that just yet! We do a lot of planning for the business but I try not to plan ahead too much design wise. Who knows what ill be doing this time next year?!?!
Thank you to Charlotte for the sneak peak of the new collection. Charlotte Taylor will be presenting her S/S 2012 collection in Somerset House, at the Exhibition for London Fashion Week, September 16th – 20th 2011.
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