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London Fashion Week S/S 2011 Catwalk Review: Jayne Pierson

Closing London Fashion Week's first day was Jayne Pierson at On|Off, with her signature shapes and luxe materials. Illustrated by Naomi Law.

Written by Gavin Mackie

After pegging it down the strand, recipe I arrived at the BFC tent with less than 30 seconds to spare. My desperate dan demeanour must have won me brownie points somewhere as I was ushered into the catwalk seating area so fast my feet barely touched the floor. Expecting the Issa show to begin, imagine my suprise when Basso and Brooke creations started to walk their way down the catwalk…there must have been some awful mistake?…yes, indeed there was Mr Matt Branfrod (who must be reading his timetable upside down last night).

For 9am on a Sunday morning, the turnout was great with barely an empty seat which is not ridiculous considering how well thought out and well executed the show was. To be able to mix so many colours, prints, patterns and styles is such a talent few can boast. I have never trained as a fashion designer but I imagine that there comes a time early in their lives, perhaps as a kid choosing between a pencil and a box of crayolas, when their speciality is set for life. In my view all designers have not so much a signature look as a part of the DNA clothing they excel at: silhouette, colour, print, cut. Some designers can change the way we see the body – I’m thinking of Miuccia Prada –and some fill in the outlines of fashionable shapes with their own individual colour, pattern and texture.

Prints were the order of the day with a slight All Saints feel to some of the ones with italic scripting and antique maps running across. After reading the press release, it turns out that this is actually handwritten notes by Da Vinci, Tolstoy, Balzac and others in a nod to the non digital past. Digital prints are then sliced into the notes and maps, creating more dramatic, edgy mixes. Other prints included trompe l’oeil prints of ruched fabrics, mainly used in larger panels on the back of dresses. I am personally a huge fan of print design (I was a colour-change felttip pen sort of kid), which I think often gets ignored in favour of more flashy, and by definition, flesh-revealing options (anyone designing an elaborately printed bikini has rather missed the point). There’s something depressing about an off-the-shelf pattern you end up seeing on clothes everywhere, from high street shops to market stalls. I want someone to have sat down and designed the images that appear on the surface of clothes with as much care and dedication as they did every other aspect.

Basso and Brooke’s S/S11 show didn’t pioneer any particular dress shape, although all their clothes look wearable: lots of skater-skirted party dresses, a collared blouse and skirt and filmy jumpsuitst. The skirts had great shape and movement to them, especially the shorter kicky ones; the dresses made use of clashing prints on the front and back and thought had also been put into matching shoes to each look. However, what they do to a tee is the print; everyone knows that when you go to their show you’ll get lovingly rendered prints galore. This also means subtle use of colour, and when the models took their turn all together, it added up to a handwritten, map inspired rainbow.

Some of the choices surprised me at first: leopard print? Hermes-scarf style illustrated floral squares? But because they were digitally chopped up with gold foil sections that seemed to creep over the garish parts, or set against a background of pearly grey silk, I think it worked. There is a trend now for mixing up complicated prints, which when it works, looks incredible. One good thing about animal print is that you can’t really beat nature for creating a pleasing whole and by sticking to the silvery sheen of water, brown and rusty orange of animals spots and mineral metallics, there’s a good chance an outfit will hang together, just like Basso and Brooke’s show.

Jayne Pierson S/S 2011, more about illustrated by Naomi Law

One of the benefits of being in with the Amelia’s crew is the opportunity to be whisked away to a show or two each London Fashion Week. This was the case on Friday night as I tagged along with Matt and Amelia, only to be herded into the surprisingly over subscribed and crowded, yet rather disappointing Kingston MA show at Freemasons Hall. To make amends, I was politely asked (*cough* coerced) to attend the last presentation of the evening – Jayne Pierson. I’m glad I accepted as I was in for a treat.

While the space was, again, full to the rafters with onlookers, I managed a front row seat in this decidedly more intimate On|Off venue. A much more relaxed and civilised mood prevailed as we awaited the show to begin, with many enjoying the refreshments from goody bags available to all (more on this later). To get us in the mood, the presentation was buffered on either side by a Pierson video promo, resplendent with onions, pears, cherries, a melon, and a dead swan. Models-cum-actresses performed such interesting tasks as playing with hosiery, pouring water into glasses and at one point even appeared to eat – and bread at that (think of the carbs!). The Justin Anderson video took cues from Peter Greenaway, which was incredibly fitting as the clothes and models that then appeared could easily find leading roles in a Greenaway masterpiece.

First to be presented were two bell-hop military inspired leather dresses, more than a little naughty, but in a sit up and say yes ma’am kind of way. Form hugging and cut slightly above the knee, both showed in buttery grey leather, with just a hint of lilac for depth. Buttons, trim and tailored accents were highlighted with gold. These set the stage for the luxe appeal of the rest of the show.

Pierson’s signature puff sleeves abounded, finding their way onto bolero jackets, a scrumptious gold pleated high collar blouson and corseted dresses. Fabrications throughout pushed the luxe factor, with bold stripes, textured creams, deep blues and midnight leathers always iridescent and shimmering. To compliment and max these, gold made bold entries and statement pieces, almost always in leather, and with stunning effect. Tailoring was precise, playing between slim and fitted and puffed and extravagant. Dress lengths played around the knee with two gowns falling full length to the ankle. Overall, the feel was baroque meets late 80s-early 90s with a futuristic flair. Not for the faint hearted, but for those with confidence and attitude to match.

I fantasise that the woman Pierson dresses is strong, extravagant, confident in her sexuality and not afraid to play with it more than a little rather knowingly. WLTM!!

And a note on those goody bags – it was great to come away with some goodies for us guys – thank you team Pierson and Elemis. Marvellous.


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