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London Fashion Week A/W 2011 Catwalk Review: Prophetik (by Katie)

In a striking antidote to the dark, minimalist palettes of some A/W collections, Jeff Garner's 'Artist Wonderment' was the highlight of my first day at LFW. Inspired by the court of Louis XV, this is not fashion for the faint hearted, but it combines all my personal priorities; ethical production, theatricality and a modern twist on a historical theme. Illustrations by Ankolie.

Written by Katie Antoniou

Illustrations by Ankolie.

Even the invitation to this show had me excited; detail of a vintage toile print on a fabric corset lined with vintage style brass buttons and the byline ‘inspired by the court of Louis XV when art became frivolous’ grabbed my attention. Because all of this is frivolous, isn’t it? We’re in the middle of a recession and yet here we are, still feeding are obsession with fashion and art because it has become such an integral part of our lives. Combining fashion and music is a big part of my job as a stylist to musicians, so opening the show with Analize Ching on the violin was a big hit with me, followed by wonderful orchestral music that evoked the atmosphere of a French royal court.

I’d been a little underwhelmed by a lot of very drab Autumn/Winter collections, where hues vary only from black,to greys, some cream and back to black. The colours Prophetik used are all natural, with plum shades blended from madder root, rumex, logwood and indigo, and burgundy mixed from madder root, curled dock and gallnut. Adding yet more splashes of colour and prints were the quilted pieces, handed down from Jeff’s grandmother Lola from Tennesse. Hemp, cactus silk and ostrich feathers provided stunning texture and shape to the pieces. Accessories label ‘Dotted Loop’ provided reworked vintage accessories and even the shoes were made from vegetable-tanned leather.

It’s rare that I can get at all excited by menswear, but the pieces in this collection spoke to the avid period-drama fan inside me. Military inspired jackets and riding boots? Phwoar. Yes please. Jeff himself appeared at the end showing how the look can be worked, though I’m sure he could probably get a way with wearing pretty much anything and still look like he just finished writing poetry/surfing/horse-riding; all listed as his hobbies. Only someone this comfortable with his masculinity could design coats for men made out of pastel pink quilts.

Corsets, tailored jackets and voluminous skirts; Jeff is very good at designing clothes for real women’s bodies. He recently dressed the lovely Livia Firth for the 2011 Golden Globes, and I can only imagine that his celebrity following will continue to increase. The final dress, ‘Mrs Moulton’ features ostrich feathers that shed naturally twice a year (from the ostrich, not the dress-that would be a high maintenance frock indeed) hand sewn on white silk and organza – I can totally picture this as a celebrity wedding dress. Watch this space.

I’ll leave you with Jeff’s take on Renaissance Art. I think it’s very interesting considering our current pre-occupation with all things vintage:

‘Renaissance art is not a rebirth as one implies, but freedom from the past. Unconcerned with what has been said or done, living in the present with an immediate relation to all things…achievement does not birth beauty but raw effort confessing its own failures and in the confession is the beauty of Art.’

All photography by Katie Antoniou.


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