At London Fashion Week: Archive Fever
Legacy was in the air on Monday in London, as Claire Waight Keller showed her latest collection for Pringle of Scotland. Kilts and cashmere and sheepskin—the signposts of Scots style—got a new airing. Waight Keller is fluent in her archive. Shwetal Patel, meanwhile, is standing the whole idea of an archive on its head. Rather than seeing an archive as something handed down, Patel, with his new label The Creative Archives, is trying to build one from scratch. His line comprises Italian-made silk and wool-blend scarves (pictured) printed in patterns designed by fashion students—Patel takes applications from young designers at Central Saint Martins, the Royal Academy of Arts, etc.—and is sold at boutiques such as Browns. Speaking yesterday at his stand at the British Fashion Council’s Exhibition, Patel said that he foresees expanding The Creative Archives to include other items, too, like little black dresses. “It’s sort of like a collector buying the work of young artists,” explains Patel, who was a co-founder of the handbag line Pauric Sweeney. “It’s about cataloging the talents of a new generation and preserving them for the future.”
He’s not the only one commissioning. Browns has also collaborated with emerging designer Hermione de Paula on a range of tees and silk tunics in her signature prints. The pieces are available at Browns Focus now; de Paula, meanwhile, showed her Fall ’10 collection yesterday at the Vauxhall Fashion Scout space. In addition to her eye-catching prints, de Paula focused on creating patterns that tricked the eye into seeing silhouettes that didn’t quite conform to the shape of the garment itself. A voluminous dress arose out of a dress that was actually body-contoured, for example. It was a great look—one, as they say, for the archives.