8 posts tagged "Palmer/Harding"
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.”
“I like a lot of embellishment and I like a lot of print,” said Holly Fulton. She might have been speaking for all her fellow English designers at the London Showrooms, the traveling, British Fashion Council-sponsored showcase which arrived in New York this week, following a stint in L.A. It’s almost a cliché that London designers trend bright and buzzy, but it’s become something of a calling card for the young talents nurtured by the BFC. To tweak the old saw, go big or stay home.
Fulton served up her groupie-inspired Fall collection, which featured lava-rock embellishments, hand-drawn prints, and a rather impressive dress constructed entirely of feathers. Others, like Simone Rocha (above), who’s currently selling stateside in Jeffrey and Opening Ceremony, offered less print but more color. Her key pieces were voluminous waffle-knitted neoprene looks in what she laughingly referred to as “Pepto pink.” Thomas Tait also played on unexpected fusion of spongy, bonded leather and quilted nylon in Day-Glo oranges and lime greens. “I feel like I’ve been shouting,” said Tait, whose line is also carried at Jeffrey. “I’ll be doing something mellower next season.”
Meanwhile, Fyodor Golan, designed by Fyodor Podgorny and Golan Frydman, balanced elegant, elaborately embellished print dresses with more playful leather pieces embossed with smiley faces. Turns out Smiley—the company that owns the rights to the icon—approached the duo for a collaboration, and they jumped at the chance to create, as Frydman put it, a “sexual smiley.” Another duo, Teatum Jones (that is to say, Catherine Teatum and Rob Jones) showed bright, seemingly tie-dyed dresses in perforated bonded jersey, as well as a few particularly interesting coats in latex-coated alpaca wool. Yet a third duo, Palmer//Harding, also in attendance, used a similarly clever technique on their wools to make them look like leather.
Men’s designers were on display, too, and they came with news to share. James Long whispered that half the designers showing on the Paris calendar had called to personal-order his sweater knitted with a giant picture of Divine. Agi Mdumulla and Sam Cotton of Agi & Sam had news of an offbeat football (read: soccer) and owl-inspired capsule collection they’ll launch at Topman next month. And jeweler Dominic Jones revealed he’ll show his first-ever men’s collection during June’s London Collections: Men. In the meantime, he was showing his mainline collection as well as his recently-launched lower priced range, DJ by Dominic Jones. “I wanted to make something that all my friends could afford,” he said when asked about the gold-plated and bright enamel collection of baubles, which average about $100 apiece.
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.”
Milan may be known for fashion powerhouses like Prada, Gucci, and Versace, but it seems the city has room for the little guy, too. Since 2011, YOOX Group’s luxury e-boutique, Thecorner.com, and Vogue Italia have been supporting emerging talents through their initiative The Vogue Talents Corner—a project that both highlights up-and-coming designers with an exhibition during Milan fashion week, and helps them build a retail presence by offering their wares on the shopping site. This year, the initiative champions eleven young ready-to-wear and accessories brands from across the globe, like Palmer//Harding (a shirt-centric range by Levi Palmer and Matthew Harding), Kristy Ward (necklace pictured left), Kzeniya (an accessories line by Kzeniya Oudenot, clutch pictured left) Vs2R (a footwear label by Vincenzo Somarrelli, pictured left) and J JS Lee (a ready-to-wear line by Jackie Lee, top pictured left). Each brand will showcase its Fall ’13 collection in an installation at the Palazzo Morando, which opens tonight. “For the most part, it’s instinct. And sometimes it’s simply what we like!” said Yoox.com founder and CEO Federico Marchetti when asked about the selection process. Marchetti explained that he looks for designers who exemplify creativity and innovation, and that this year he was particularly impressed by the group’s focus on craftsmanship and “excellent” materials. Looks from the eleven selected designers’ Spring ’13 collections will be available from today, on www.thecorner.com.