September 2 2014

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5 posts tagged "Phoebe English"

Phoebe English’s Dover Street Galaxy


Phoebe English's Spring 2013 collection and Dover Street Market installation 

From the Keith Haring installation to a giant Barbie display to entire worlds created by Tim Walker, Gilbert & George, Chanel, and Lanvin, the windows of Rei Kawakubo’s London concept boutique Dover Street Market (which is slotted to open in New York later this year) have become somewhat of an institution. So when the storefront is lent to a young designer, it’s a veritable rite of passage. Earlier this year, rising star Simone Rocha built an Irish wilderness behind Dover Street’s glass facade. And today, Phoebe English—a 27-year old Central Saint Martins graduate who won the coveted L’Oréal Professional award upon her graduation in 2011—takes the stage, mounting her first project for the shop. “They were my first stockist,” said English, who’s now been selling at Dover Street for four seasons. “We’ve been working on this for a long time. And it’s been very challenging because it’s such a different thing than putting together a collection.”

Phoebe English's Dover Street Market window 

English has a penchant for combining unexpected materials in her wares—synthetic hair and strips of rubber, for example. So naturally, her installation, a giant, ethereal icy-blue orb that combines shreds of fabric and glass beads from her Spring ’13 collection (above, left), follows suit. “It’s a bit of a play on contradiction. I liked that the solidity of the sphere contrasted against the irregular textiles and beads,” she explained, noting that her sculpture had an intergalactic inspiration (“I quite like planets and stars,” she giggled). As for why she decided to forgo a clothing-based display, English offered, “I felt that it would be too literal. Dover Street is such a creative garment-based space already, and it felt right to push my creative thought in a new direction.” English’s windows will be on view through May 29, and her Spring ’13 collection is available now at Dover Street Market’s London boutique.

Photo: Courtesy of Phoebe English (Spring ’13 collection and interior image); Courtesy of Dover Street Market (installation exterior)

Easter Bonnets On Parade


The Brits love their hats. But they love their Easter bonnets even more. Perhaps it stems from the fascination with the royals, whose Easter toppers always get front-page attention. Everyone’s already buzzing about what Kate Windsor et al. will be wearing at this weekend’s Easter church services. However, we can bet that the witty, whimsical, and totally outrageous hats on display at designer Fred Butler’s Easter bonnet competition last night aren’t in the running.

London talents like Piers Atkinson (left), Antipodium, Tatty Devine, Margot Bowman, Phoebe English, and Alex Noble, created wares for the event, all of which were judged by a panel that included Love magazine’s Alexander Fury and British Vogue‘s Emma Elwick-Bates. Magnificently festooned bonnets (think egg yolks, gingham, and bunny ears) made their way down a runway in the courtyard of London’s Sanderson Hotel. The spectacle was narrated by drag queen Jonny Woo (who donned a giant cherry blossom hat) and Butler manned the DJ decks.

Not surprisingly, milliner Piers Atkinson won the title of “Bonnet Master” with his “Double-Yolker Easter Egg Surprise”—a hat that depicted oversize eggs being hatched by tiny chicks. “I’m a big fan of a bit of insane millinery, and that’s really what this event ended up being about,” said Fury. “There’s always a touch of glamour and humor to Piers’ work—a whimsy combined with something a little provocative and exciting. His bonnets were hilarious. Plus, they’re in that amazing egg-yolk Louis Vuitton yellow that feels very right for spring.” Most importantly, Atkinson’s winning design best embraced the evening’s vibe—the rejuvenation of spring, the Easter spirit, and complete, wacky fun.

Photo: Oliver Rudkin

Seeing a Pattern


On February 15, Phaidon Press will release Pattern, a book that highlights one hundred compelling fashion designers on the rise. Phaidon handed over the book’s curatorial duties to a group of ten designers and industry insiders (including stylist Keegan Singh, Preen’s Justin Thornton and Thea Bregazzi, the SHOWstudio team, and Business of Fashion‘s founder Imran Amed, just to name a few), each of whom chose ten talents to fill Pattern‘s pages.

The book (which is a follow-up to the 2005 fashion tome SAMPLE) features established designers (Phillip Lim, Alexander Wang, Christopher Kane, Sarah Burton), well-known emerging labels (Eddie Borgo, Thomas Tait, Creatures of the Wind, Mary Katrantzou, whose work is pictured above), and proper newbies (Simone Rocha, Marques’ Almeida, Phoebe English, Maarten van der Horst). The designers’ diverse aesthetics, techniques and outlooks are presented via detailed introductions, backstage, campaign and editorial photographs, and never-before-seen sketches, all of which serve to give readers an in-depth understanding of their work. “For me, seeing that the designers had a consistent point of view that’s true to their style was important,” said Singh, whose picks include Cushnie et Ochs (left), Olivier Rousteing of Balmain, Tabitha Simmons, Dominic Jones, and Gianvito Rossi, among others. “You know, it’s like Azzedine Alaïa. He has his thing, and he always sticks to it,” he added. So does Singh think the next Alaïa is somewhere between Pattern‘s covers? “It’s a possibility!” he laughed. At the very least, he notes, “the book gives the young designers a chance to reach broader audiences; it exposes them to a whole new group of people.”

Pattern: 100 Fashion Designers, 10 Curators will be available on February 15, on

Photos: Both images feature in Pattern: 100 Fashion Designers, 10 Curators. Mary Katrantzou—Nick Knight and Dinos Chapman originally for Garage Magazine; Cushnie et Ochs—Courtesy of Cushnie et Ochs.

Young London’s Youngest Take Their Turn Off The Calendar


In London, a city known for nurturing young talent, the newest designers are often found off the official calendar. Style Bubble‘s Susie Lau took a spin through the farther reaches of London fashion week to report on the names you need to know next.

Season upon season, the focus on London fashion week increases exponentially. While it is still known as the hot spot for young talent, what is being showcased on the official schedule are almost all established brands: Jonathan Saunders, Christopher Kane, and Mary Katrantzou are hardly newbies. As the LFW schedule becomes increasingly packed—most editors experienced grueling 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. days—the number of up-and-coming graduates have spilled over into quite an impressive off-schedule that is mainly being facilitated by Vauxhall Fashion Scout, an organization established as an independent showcase of grassroots designers.

“These are designers that are starting out. This is what London is renowned for: new creative talent,” says Martyn Roberts, organizer of Vauxhall Fashion Scout. “VFS is the starting place and then they hopefully move on to LFW on-schedule and Paris.” A stone’s throw away from the main Somerset House venue, VFS is staged in the grand Freemason’s Hall, where over 30 designers showed their collections, including international imports who see London as the perfect place to showcase their work. For instance, Korean designer Hwan Heo and his brand Heohwan Simulation impressed with a slick collection (pictured, left) of monochrome photo prints spliced into shift dresses and precise tailoring, reflecting the designer’s menswear training. One of Istanbul’s up-and-coming talents, Zeynep Tosun, played with equestrian looks in a plethora of sheer fabrics and sportswear-derived detailing.

In the last few years, the Central Saint Martins M.A. and B.A. programs have produced many graduates, who have started their own labels and have also found a place at VFS to show their collections off-schedule. Standouts included design duo Sam Leutton and Jenny Postle, who refined their crafty aesthetic to use finer-gauge knits and fun elements like hammer beading and fringing to produce a vibrant show that demonstrated their love of uplifting color and texture mash-ups.

Myrza de Muynck is determined to bring back the shell suit by rendering it in pastel colors and decorating with delicate embroidery and beading. Phoebe English, who was picked up by Dover Street Market two seasons ago, created “intimate shells” inspired by organic forms in black and white for Spring ’13, with bugle-beaded sleeves and clusters of beads embellishing these shells. Hellen van Rees (pictured, left) used nubby Chanel-eque tweeds and jutting silicone blocks to create an abstracted take on ladylike attire. Away from VFS—off-schedule of the off-schedule—Adam Andrascik staged his own wholly independent show in a gallery and used subtle deconstruction in his minimal collection (below) that added a rather grown-up perspective to London’s reputation for the weird and wacky.

Photos: Simon Armstrong (Heohwan Simulation); Asia Werbel (Hellen van Reese); Courtesy of Adam Andrascik

Young London Calling: Phoebe English


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, checked in with three of the city’s most exciting emerging designers. Today, meet Phoebe English.

London learned of Phoebe English, 25, last season when she debuted her first collection of gothic black rubber and faux-hair goddess dresses down the Central Saint Martins M.A. catwalk. After winning the prestigious L’Oréal Professionel Creative Award, English graduated from the classroom to her own cozy white-walled studio in East London. While the designer has been one of the most talked-about new talents of the year, she nearly didn’t pursue fashion. “For a long time, I couldn’t decide between fashion and acting,” she says. “I spent a summer auditioning at drama schools across Britain and didn’t get into any of them, so I did a course at Saint Martins to see what it was like and never looked back.”

Judging by her Spring collection, English made the right choice. This season, the designer was inspired by the raw surroundings of her new studio, as well as her walk to work. “I walk here every day and that clumpy walking movement is really an inspiration for some of the shapes,” explains English. In an attempt to move away from what she describes as the “frenetic” fluidity of her last collection, which primarily featured eveningwear, English turns her focus to organic separates crafted out of tightly pleated, destroyed canvas. Having a background in knitwear, English’s Spring ’12 (mostly black) collection marks her first time using fabric rather than materials. In addition to her first show, English’s M.A. collection will be included in British-ish, a Giles Deacon-curated exhibition that runs throughout fashion week at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum.

Photos: Lucy Carr-Ellison