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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

Clemency – Je t’aime (moi non plus)

As the sun shines outside, Becca Kitson reviews Clemency's Spring Summer 2010 collection…

Written by Becca Kitson

Jacob Kimmie by Gemma Milly.
Jacob Kimmie by Gemma Milly.

I knew nothing about South African born Jacob Kimmie before reading Rachael Oku’s excellent interview with him on this very website, information pills posted just prior to London Fashion Week. Jacob Kimmie is self-taught and has made a name for himself through sheer hard work and determination – he believes that this, and not a university training, has brought him to where he is today.

In yet another room in the Tardis-like Freemasons’ Hall I was seated behind lady Baby-leg once more, proudly placed on the front row like the reining mascot of cool.

Baby-leg Girl at Jacob Kimmie.
Baby-leg Girl at Jacob Kimmie. I have got a pen in my mouth.

Jacob Kimmie. Photography by Amelia Gregory.
Close up of the BABY-LEGS.

Unfortunately her pouffed hair (re-pouffed several times to maintain volume through the short catwalk show) obscured much of my view, but I can tell you that Kimmie’s Pilgrim show started with a hooded lady.

jacob kimmie
Jacob Kimmie. Photography by Amelia Gregory.
Jacob Kimmie hooded lady. Photography by Amelia Gregory.

This polo-neck was seriously out of control. “Spiritual & Enlightened & Monastic” was the header to the slip of paper on our seats; a mammoth amount to encompass in one collection surely; and all this inspiration from hearing just one funky tune! (read Rachael’s interview for more on Kimmie’s inspiration). Indeed, veils worn by several of the models did a fair job of creating a beautifully elegant and oddly monastic silhouette alongside knits and marabous in fabulous monochrome black and cream swing shapes, all worn by ladies adorned in the most delightful cutaway butterfly masks, designed in leather by Ginta Siceva.

Jacob Kimmie. Photography by Amelia Gregory.
Jacob Kimmie by Gemma Milly.
Jacob Kimmie by Gemma Milly.

Jacob Kimmie. Photography by Amelia Gregory.

The best was reserved for last though, when a lady in a long white dress calming glided out bearing a surprised but placid baby in a beautiful metallic pearlised papoose. You should have heard the coos. Now where can we buy one of those?

Jacob Kimmie by Gemma Milly.
Jacob Kimmie by Gemma Milly.

Jacob Kimmie. Photography by Amelia Gregory.
Oops-a-daisy!

Jacob Kimmie by Gemma Milly.
Jacob Kimmie by Gemma Milly.

I knew nothing about South African born Jacob Kimmie before reading Rachael Oku’s excellent interview with him on this very website, malady posted just prior to London Fashion Week. Jacob Kimmie is self-taught and has made a name for himself through sheer hard work and determination – he believes that this, and not a university training, has brought him to where he is today.

In yet another room in the Tardis-like Freemasons’ Hall I was seated behind lady Baby-leg once more, proudly placed on the front row like the reining mascot of cool.

Baby-leg Girl at Jacob Kimmie.
Baby-leg Girl at Jacob Kimmie. Photography by Tim Adey. I have got a pen in my mouth.

Jacob Kimmie. Photography by Amelia Gregory.
Close up of the BABY-LEGS.

Unfortunately her pouffed hair (re-pouffed several times to maintain volume through the short catwalk show) obscured much of my view, but I can tell you that Kimmie’s Pilgrim show started with a hooded lady.

jacob kimmie
Photography by Tim Adey.

Jacob Kimmie. Photography by Amelia Gregory.
Jacob Kimmie hooded lady. Photography by Amelia Gregory.

This polo-neck was seriously out of control. “Spiritual & Enlightened & Monastic” was the header to the slip of paper on our seats; a mammoth amount to encompass in one collection surely; and all this inspiration from hearing just one funky tune! (read Rachael’s interview for more on Kimmie’s inspiration). Indeed, veils worn by several of the models did a fair job of creating a beautifully elegant and oddly monastic silhouette alongside knits and marabous in fabulous monochrome black and cream swing shapes, all worn by ladies adorned in the most delightful cutaway butterfly masks, designed in leather by Ginta Siceva.

Jacob Kimmie. Photography by Amelia Gregory.
Jacob Kimmie by Gemma Milly.
Jacob Kimmie by Gemma Milly.

Jacob Kimmie. Photography by Amelia Gregory.

The best was reserved for last though, when a lady in a long white dress calming glided out bearing a surprised but placid baby in a beautiful metallic pearlised papoose. You should have heard the coos. Now where can we buy one of those?

Jacob Kimmie by Gemma Milly.
Jacob Kimmie by Gemma Milly.

Jacob Kimmie. Photography by Amelia Gregory.
Oops-a-daisy!

Alison Clemency-Buddenhagen’s first independent label, cheapClemency’ is now set for its second season.  Launched last year and already rubbing shoulders with avid Knightsbridge shoppers in Harvey Nichols, ‘Clemency’ has been tipped as a label to look out for this year.

To say the designer’s CV is impressive would be an understatement and the woman behind the label could certainly inspire a whole other article. Alison Clemency-Buddenhagen graduated with a BA Honours degree in Design from Central St Martin’s School of Art and Design. Whilst studying she worked for the ethical designer and eco campaigner, Katharine Hamnett. Amid the bustling competition of London’s fashion breeding ground, her degree show earned Alison positive coverage from the press including front-page coverage from the International Herald Tribune.  A delightful fashion/art amalgamation ensued, when one of the pieces from this collection was shown alongside the work of a fledgling Damien Hirst.

In a career that has seen Clemency-Buddenhagen secure design posts for Armani, Trussardi, Calvin Klein and Burberry, to name but a few, it is no surprise that her first independent label reflects a well mastered skill and appreciation of fabric and cut. Alison also worked as a music journalist and has interviewed a diverse mix of artists, such as Radiohead, Nirvana, Massive Attack and Janet Jackson.

‘Clemency’ actualises the designer’s artistic musings and well-honed skills, in a cleverly understated manner. The Spring Summer 2010 collection, recently launched in Montaigne Market, is effortlessly feminine with an edge.  There is a nod to swinging London and her ladylike Parisian sister, with a faint streak of street savvy New Yorker running through the collection.

Dainty feminine frills sit prettily alongside studded leather.  The colour palette is muted dove grey, ivory, fawn… with the detailing and accessories doing the talking. Leather biker caps punctuate silk ruffled dresses.  Spotting the little details in the collection is a joy, from the hand embroidered borders to the tattered edges and fraying hemlines. The embellishments are rusted and antique looking, giving the garments a vintage mood. The Brigitte Bardot influence on the collection is striking; the felt signature hats and tousled ruffles along hems instantly evoke images of that famous nude coloured pout.

The iconic Joy Division album artwork for ‘Unknown Pleasures’ also proved to be an inspiration for the collection.

The artwork depicting white linear topography over a stark black background generated the idea behind the beautifully engineered dresses. The origami folds create a jagged silhouette, feminized by a carefully constructed cut.

The collection has an atmospheric quality.  Inspired by effortlessly chic Jane Birkin, the garments hang with the same spirit of cool nonchalance. From sheer gloves to bare arm to military influenced leather jackets with embellished lapels. Outfits playfully twirl from Boudoir inspired chiffon pleats, to cheeky piquet polos and silk couture shorts. These pieces are at odds with the idea of a one-dimensional woman. The fabrics give the wearer permission to be feminine and sexy, comfortable and edgy, designer clad and decadently vintage.

Alison Clemency-Buddhagen’s humbling experience in the fashion world has obviously helped her to hone her skills and the collection is technically striking. The wide range of influences and moods evoked by the collection reveal a deep seated knowledge of art and culture.

Autumn Winter 2010 proves to be equally interesting. With whispers of next season’s collection including a flash of David Bowie for inspiration, it makes any fashion enthusiast with a penchant for music weak at the knees.

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