Phoebe English gave an eerie presentation, set in a dystopian waiting room.
The Waiting Room
Phoebe English brought her presentation to life this season, realising her collection within the bleak setting of a waiting room. With a soundtrack that evoked the darkest recesses of Dante’s Inferno – “your call is very important to us, please hold the line” – models waited for their number to show up on the screen before moving to be examined by a sartorial doctor. The occasional ticking of an a absent clock added to the nightmarish scenario in which the participants were doomed to enact the same thing over and over within a sweltering basement at the ICA. The overall effect was eerie and extremely disquieting.
Within this transient horror story, a gothic aesthetic ruled. Models were swaddled in black, with Craig Green-esque parachute detail shooting off tops. Black trousers were embellished with sequin detail whilst black socks were worn over tights, folded above flat leather Mary Janes. In others pieces, monochrome tapestries were woven across the bodies of models. English layered textures, putting wool over black leather over white shirts or silk black tops. Mixed in amongst this opaque palette was a disembodied ox-blood leather dress. Here shapes hung together with thin straps, again creating a futuristic feel in which clothes were both a thing of beauty and symbols of an underlying lack of harmony.
English’s aesthetic was created through an immaculate understanding of structures; each piece had a fragmented, sculptural feel. In one piece, a black top featured powerful knotted detail which ran across the body creating a delicate brace. Black dresses were cut across the shoulder, and woven tapestries hung at a slant across the body. These compositions were thoughtful and clever and you can expect clothes worn on the wonk to be a prevailing style this season.
First published on Wonderland, 22nd Feb 2016