Lorna Weightman, one of Grazia Daily's former Blogger of the Weeks and writer of Irish style blog www.styleisle.ie, gives us her insider view of the Teatum Jones show...
Standing in the orchid suite of the Dorchester hotel during London Fashion Week, I watch my friends, designers Catherine Teatum and Rob Jones, aka Teatum Jones, work the room of press and buyers while models serenely move across a set which reminds me of a Studio 54 dance floor. Oh it’s amazing how the right backdrop and soundtrack can create and complement the tones of a collection.
While taking this all in, I can’t help but think that this spring summer collection illustrates to me what every designer must continually seek: to stay true to their inspiration but appeal to an audience outside of people like me. While taking pictures of the collection i add several pieces to my imaginary shopping basket, in particular a metallic biker jacket which would be very happy in my wardrobe, alongside my hundred or so pairs of skinny jeans and leather shorts. But before this moment of mouth watering fashion, I chatted to Catherine and Rob about their vision, their icons and how no set is complete without the help of a few handy brothers!
LORNA: Where has your inspiration come from for your new collection?
TJ: The new collection is titles “from democracy with love” and it takes you on a journey through the political and cultural landscape of the early cold war years and observes the exchangeable concept of being at once a villain and a hero. This took us into looking at the national showmanship of the space race and the cultural, literary rise of espionage and surveillance and how this is dealt with in novels such as George Orwell’s novel ‘1984’ which explores the insatiable pursuit of power for powers sake and the massaging of truth to suit one’s needs.
LORNA: Do you have a muse to which you turn?
TJ: We have a very filmic approach to designing the collection which often sees the creation of a female character in amongst the creation of what could be described as a treatment for a film and a music score. The female character at the centre of the ss13 script and score music is closely referenced to the characteristics associated to Jackie Kennedy, one of America’s most iconic first lady’s. We wanted to draw on a woman whose graciousness, elegance and composure channeled the spirit of Jackie Kennedy and revealed a powerfully smart woman who simultaneously looked towards the future whilst nodding respectfully to the craftsmanship of the past. She fit very well with the Teatum Jones woman who can only be described as effortlessly chic and playfully nonchalant.
LORNA: What is your colour palate for SS13?
TJ: We’re very excited to have developed our first jacquard; the luxurious Kennedy silk-blend jacquard. It’s woven with ice blues, pastel mints and the palest of gold creates a doublethink fabric; at once traditional yet utterly modern. We’ve also delved into using biro-ink and porcelain blues, which see the first introduction of printed silk jersey into the mainline collection. Fleshy pinks and intense satellite blues sit calmingly next to pistachio mint cashmere tailoring and leathery viscose double-pleated dresses. Embossed silver chrome bikers and epic two-tone copper metallics inject the highest level of futuristic octane into statement biker and bomber jackets that will have every magpie swooning.
LORNA: How have you been preparing for your LFW presentation?
TJ: We’ve been working 7 days a week for the past 3 months to ensure this collection and presentation come together with the level of detail that we require of everything that we commit ourselves to. It often means we sacrifice a lot of time not seeing loved ones but we have the most incredible team which we feel extremely proud to be leading. We also wouldn’t be able to do any of this without the support and 100% belief of our partners, family and friends. This year we are working with Teatum + Teatum (Catherine’s brother’s ) to design and create the SS13 presentation set – the only way to describe the experience we have created with them, is EPIC.
Lorna: Designing a new collection is tough but there must be enjoyable times too!
TJ: You get to immerse yourself in a world for up to 6 months and totally indulge in a gut feeling for what you feel is creatively the most relevant narrative to explore and create fashion from. With a new collection comes a new narrative and with a new narrative comes a new way of presenting it. The very concept of continually presenting new ideas is the very thing that is most exciting. There is never a moment’s rest either; it’s always straight onto the next one. We have already pin pointed the direction for our AW13 narrative, literary, film and music references – how insane is that. Fashion certainly never sleeps.
Lorna: Was it all plain sailing or did you face challenges along the way?
TJ: We’ve pushed ourselves and our French and Italian fabric mills to develop the intricate designs that we came up with for our ss13 jacquards. We wanted to create spectacular woven fabrics that felt both luxuriously substantial yet utterly modern. We wanted to take these woven fabrics and make them work for easy and desirable shift dresses that would take a woman seamlessly from day to evening whilst at the same time creating super sleek tailored suits and epic show pieces. It was a challenge which we feel we might just have met.
LORNA: What kind of fabrics have you used for next season and why?
TJ: We’ve really pushed our prints for ss13 delving further into our obsession with layered narrative and cryptic patterns. We wanted to romantically exploit the idea of the villain vs. hero, through the ‘humanism’ print, which unites the vulnerability of Jenny Saville’s naked flesh surfaces with the cold, crushed landscapes of john chamberlain’s chrome sculptures. Together, these highly opposing textures reveal themselves on silk satins, double georgettes and feather-weight chiffons that are alive with movement and induce in the wearer a whimsical, magical opulance. Whilst the ‘china-blue-toile-de-joie’ print transports you into a cryptic kubrick-esque world of decorative porcelain patterns requiring closer surveillance.