OK, he was born in Denmark, but Peter Jensen
's design aesthetic has an intrinsically British camp-ness. Why did he call his new collection Muriel? Because Muriel Spark was the author of The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie
, and Maggie Smith's performance in the movie version, as the schoolteacher molding impressionable young minds in Edinburgh, Scotland (it won her an Oscar), is the quintessence of a subspecies of crisp, schoolmarm drag. Against a painted backdrop of Jean Brodie's classroom, Jensen paraded his own version of the Brodie gals—part woman, part Lolita minx. He shortened their uniforms to pelmet proportions and rendered their tartans in a pair of velvet bloomers. And, in an odd way, he also seemed to honor the make-do economy of the novel's period (the thirties) by cropping a jacket or a shirt out of cotton ticking.
Jean Brodie aside, there were also items that were pure Jensen whimsy, like the jumpsuit printed with the changing of the guards, or the translucent white smock that floated over a skintight strappy black dress (virgin and whore in one package). The models also sported seamed stockings and ruffled heels that would have made a girl's night out during World War II. But Jensen isn't as wayward as these notes might suggest. He had Nina Persson from the Cardigans performing love songs live ("Love" by John Lennon, "Solitaire" by the Carpenters). What better way to mark Valentine's Day?