During their quest for enlightenment in the 1970s, John Lennon and Yoko Ono moved to a hippie commune in North Jutland, the part of Denmark that Peter Jensen
comes from. Though that unlikely affinity wasn't the reason why he built his Resort collection around Yoko, the latest in his series of left-field fashion heroines, it certainly confirmed him in his commitment. And he needed that confirmation, because Yoko didn't come as naturally as his other muses. In fact, Jensen acknowledged that this particular inspiration might have been a little more academic than usual. "In the beginning, I had a hard time looking at her art, so I had to educate myself." True, how do
you go about translating into clothing the conceptual or performance-based works that made Yoko's reputation as an artist? One of her most famous pieces, for instance, consisted of the audience cutting pieces of clothing off her. Jensen referenced it with slashed T-shirts. Under the slashes, a small pair of scissors dangled. DIY Yoko. Much easier was a print on cotton voile which abstracted her frizz of hair, or a grapefruit motif which echoed one of her books (called Grapefruit
, naturally). Continuing in the fruit vein, Jensen hand-embroidered the Beatles' green apple logo on a white blouse, and cheekily co-opted it with his own rabbit logo.
Jensen is nothing if not thorough in his research. Those flared trousers? Borrowed from a photo of Yoko and John walking down Fifth Avenue. The makeup artist for his presentation was the woman Yoko uses when she's in London. The set was made up of intriguing bits and pieces—a ladder, an Exercycle—from past performances. Still, it all rather begged the question: Why?
"I like her intellectual engagement, her openness," Jensen said. "She's not sexy, but she's sensual." Maybe there's something there that gels with Jensen's own evolution as a designer. There were appealing pieces here—a tiered organdy smock, a red sheath with a naive floral design that was his answer to the grapefruit and the apple—that had little to say about Yoko but a lot to say about Jensen. He claimed, by the way, that the woman herself is absolutely thrilled with his tribute.