LFW Preview: Holly Fulton
In a new series, Style.com drops in on a few of London’s hottest young talents to find out what’s in store. Next up: Holly Fulton, who presents her collection tomorrow.
Holly Fulton found her inspiration for Fall 2011 while fishing in Scotland. Not the most glamorous of trips—until you hear that it’s the same place a certain Mademoiselle Chanel also frequented with her lover, the Duke of Westminster. (It’s where she developed her love of tweed.) Reading Justine Picardie’s recent biography of Coco, Fulton was intrigued by the effect these breaks from Paris had on Chanel. “It was said she was a different woman when she was there,” the designer explains. “Really relaxed. That’s what set it off in my head.”
In Fulton’s head, of course, Chanel was a little wilder. She conceived an image of “Coco relaxing in Scotland among friends…maybe having taken some magic mushrooms and tripping out a little bit in the Highlands!” It might take a strong dose to come up with all the references Fulton makes in the new collection, from Marie Antoinette and Scarlett O’Hara to illustrator Heinz Edelmann’s work on the Beatles’ animated Yellow Submarine—”That’s become a major section of new-tech prints, quite psychedelic and full-on,” she notes—and the Pop artist Tom Wesselmann, whose smoking lips feature in another set of prints as well as in Perspex jewelry. (Red lipstick is a Fulton trademark; hers is Chanel’s Audace.)
Fulton has already proven her mastery of layered prints (this season, Wesselmann’s lips sit next to skyscrapers), but it’s her use of tweeds that intrigues. “It’s a far more textural collection,” she points out. Working alongside a weaver in London’s East End (“She’s Scottish, too”), Fulton looked to Bernat Klein, famous in sixties Scotland for his velvet ribbon weaving, “so we have hand-woven tweed using velvet from dévoré, metallic leather strips, and shredded snakeskin,” she says. If this sounds frantic, it’s made up for in the silhouettes, which have a romantic slant—longer, sexier, and toned-down. (“Holly Fulton, toned-down!” the designer laughs.)
The women Fulton imagined sending on a cruise for her Spring collection have become these new Scottish vacationers. “I was thinking about them, and that the cruise might have been quite hedonistic and they’ve overdone it a little bit, so now they’re retreating back to Scotland with their lovers to calm down during the winter” is how she envisioned it. Surely not salmon-fishing like Coco? “It’s huge, the salmon that she got up there!” Fulton says. “I have total respect for Chanel. The fashion was OK, but the fishing was amazing!”