4 posts tagged "Levi Palmer"
Everyone knows their Marcs from their Calvins. But as fashion month kicks into gear, we’ll be spotlighting the up-and-coming designers and indie brands whose names you’ll want to remember.
Label: Palmer//Harding, designed by Levi Palmer and Matthew Harding
Need to know: Five seasons in, the duo behind ready-to-wear line Palmer//Harding has taken on that daunting task for all fledgling designers: to incorporate the right balance of commerciality and wearability without sacrificing their vision and principles. For Spring ’14, which marked the brand’s debut runway show, the pair presented twenty-two looks for a real wardrobe, with approximately sixty separates that highlighted the brand’s pièce de résistance—the shirt. Made primarily of poplins, water-resilient cottons, and jerseys in whites and blue hues, their looks had a strong focus on pattern cutting (the designer’s strengths) and subtle details, from spiral pleating to playful snap bracelets that served as structured cuffs. The show was set to the sounds of a thunderstorm—the handiwork of Malcolm Pate, who designed a set of steel rods which hung from the ceiling. The range’s Spring girls zigzagged down the catwalk, conceding any attempt to escape the downpour.
They say: “This season has a youthful and carefree attitude that captures the liberating spirit of getting caught in a thunderstorm,” offered Palmer. But their starting point, as with each season, is simple. “We wanted different silhouettes and separates that contextualized the shirts,” explained Harding. “The shirt is what we built our business around.”
Where to find it: Fivestory and Curve in New York, Louis Boston in Boston, and Forty Five Ten in Dallas, among others.
“It’s easy to go to extremes in fashion,” Palmer//Harding’s Matthew Harding told Style.com. This is especially true in London, where crazed creativity and over-the-top theatrics are to be expected. But, best known for their strict range of directional men’s and women’s shirts, Harding and his design partner, Levi Palmer, are proving that resisting the charms of London’s raucous avant-garde and favoring the middle ground needn’t be uninspiring. “For us, it’s about finding a balance between these two worlds—between what’s wearable and what’s interesting,” explained Harding.
Yesterday, Palmer and Harding, who were recently awarded a NEWGEN sponsorship, introduced their Spring ’14 menswear collection at London’s Hospital Club with a new fashion film. Directed by the designers and lensed by Boys by Girls editor in chief Cecilie Harris, the film, which makes its online debut above, sees its protagonist plunge, fully clothed, into a copper bathtub. According to Palmer, the shirts moving in water are representative of cleansing—a concept that’s integral to the pair’s design process. Stripped of all excess, Palmer//Harding’s latest menswear collection offers eleven shirts based off of the greatest hits from the last four seasons. There’s the trademark spiral pleating, the color-blocking, and Harding’s favorite—a crisp navy poplin with an overlay of crepe. If their womenswear is out to set the mood with its sweeping trains and voluminous tops, then surely menswear caters to craftsmanship. “London has a tendency to challenge menswear,” said Palmer. “Men don’t necessarily want to be challenged. Men want simplicity.”
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.”
London is a hotbed of young talent in fashion, and the city is known for supporting the young, the wild, and the penniless like few other fashion capitals. Just in time for London fashion week, Style.com checked in with three of the city’s most exciting emerging designers. Today, meet Levi Palmer and Matthew Harding, the duo behind Palmer//Harding.
Considering London’s young designers are known for their conceptual, if not eccentric edge, it took a lot of guts for newcomers Levi Palmer, 30, and Matthew Harding, 26, to launch something as simple as a shirt line. But the savvy design duo, nominated for this year’s ANDAM Award, didn’t want to rush into things. “I think shirts are a neglected garment,” Harding tells Style.com. “We eventually want to do a full line, but this allows us to take it sensibly and slowly.”
For their debut at London fashion week, with the support of NEWGEN, the Central Saint Martins-trained designers pulled inspiration from the youthful naïveté found in Ingar Krauss’ photographs of juvenile delinquents for their 17 men’s shirts and 17 women’s shirts. “There was a loneliness in her photography that was really beautiful,” says Palmer. Harding adds, “We also looked at thirties couture references, so it’s kind of naïveté mixed with sophistication.”
As one might deduct from the designers’ influences, an ordinary shirt brand this is not. The gray, white, and dusty mint collection features a mix of organic spiral details as well as tight accordion pleats. Rubberized metal accents on pockets and cuffs and grosgrain detailing enhance the handcrafted feel of their wearable works. But the Egyptian cotton shirts aren’t too precious because, as Harding explains, “the shirts are special, quality pieces but we want them to be lived in as well.”