Palmer//Harding: Beyond the Shirt
Levi Palmer and Matthew Harding launched Palmer//Harding four seasons ago as a line that strictly offered shirts. Since, the London-based Central Saint Martins graduates have won NEWGEN sponsorship (they presented on schedule at London fashion week for the first time this season) and their constantly evolving range has been picked up by high-profile retailers like Dover Street Market, Fivestory, Louis Boston, and Moda Operandi. Looking at their Fall '13, it’s not hard to see why. The collection—their most comprehensive to date—features clean, voluminous blouses with long, sometimes floor-length trains, sculpted skirts, and shapely jackets in adventurous textiles (the most exciting of which was a “tarred” wool that Harding likened to antique leather or a “sticky cinema floor”), and sharp black trousers.
In case there was any doubt, the designers have made it clear that they can do more than just shirts. Heck, even the shirts are more than just shirts. One cotton poplin oxford looks simple from the front and then, surprise!, it’s backless. Some styles came with intricate embellishments on the sleeves, collar, or waist, and other silk/cotton voile versions incorporated gentle pleating to achieve a fluid femininity. “There are 15 different shirts in the collection. The shirt is still the star,” said Palmer. Harding added, “We just wanted to show people more of our mood, and our world, and we needed the separates to push that.”