Amelia’s Magazine | London Fashion Week A/W 2011 Catwalk Review: Prophetik (by Matt)

Illustration by Antonia Parker

The On|Off venue this year isn’t the best, medicine sale I have to say. Located at Mercer Street Studios, medicine it’s absolutely tiny, information pills roasting hot and there are fewer seats than usual. Having been awarded an invitation with an orange sticker on, mind, I was ushered to the front and glamourously made my way inside. I don’t know if I’m just getting on a bit, but there seems to be a helluva lot of people at fashion week this season. For this, the Jena.Theo show, the room was full to bursting (I’m not sure what the HSE would have to say about some of the goings on in these pokey venues) but this design duo thoroughly deserve the mass attention they are getting.

‘Hilary’s here! Hilary’s here!’ began the whispers, and a gap on the front row, directly across the aisle from me, was created. At fashion week it could only be one Hilary they were so frantically trying to seat – our Hilary Alexander, who looked gorgeous in a feather-trimmed top. As the show was about to start, a tiny photographer with a lens the length of my arm positioned himself on the floor, right in my shot, between me and Hils. I was livid. I asked him politely to move the hell out of my way (another trend this season…) but he failed to take any notice. Sigh.

Look, here he is:

Despite moaning about the venue being tiny, I do adore the addition of an enormous screen at the back of the catwalk, which made for stark and interesting photographs and emphasised the pieces – a wondrous addition here with Jena.Theo’s exaggerated silhouettes.

On with the show, and extremely tall models emerged wearing all sorts of sculptural shapes. I really like Jena.Theo’s aesthetic – it’s contemporary (futuristic, even) but also wearable for the fashion-forward woman. The models really stood out in-front of the blinding LED screen; curved silhouettes had a Japanese influence with enormous sleeves and garments that gave out at the waist.

There was a definite unfinished aesthetic at play – ma, maybe, like the great Japanese couturiers. Hems were raw and luxurious silks were layered on top of each other. There wasn’t much in the way of colour – a splash of denim for an over-sized cape was a welcome break from this pretty much all black collection, but I guess that’s Jena.Theo’s style.

Illustration by Antonia Parker

I especially enjoyed the additions of leather, particularly on one patchwork piece that I’ve since deemed my fave. Black stripes across models faces added a sinister twist, but flattering shapes that emphasised curves and bare flesh allowed this collection to remain sexy and sophisticated. Capes were like sexed-up graduation gowns, while a huge padded jacket would sit happily in a Yohji Yamamoto exhibition.

A fantastic outing for this twosome, I can’t wait to see what direction they take all this in. I’m now off to drink the Chambord from the goody bag and smother myself in Elemis for ladies (I’m actually not, I’m off to another show, I just wanted to give them a plug).

Also got slightly distracted by what Dame Hilary might have been scribbling, so took a few cheeky shots of her notebook…

Illustration by Yelena Bryksenkova

The first time I saw Prophetik, buy information pills I just didn’t get it. It was Jeff Garner’s debut show, medications and I had come straight from some kind of Hannah-Marshall-if-it-aint-leather-and-black-it-aint-going-in show, pharm and I just couldn’t handle Prophetik’s pretty aesthetic. I’m pleased to say I’ve since changed my mind, and after researching Jeff’s label and reading about him in Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration, I couldn’t wait to see what he’d come up with this season – romantically titled ‘Artistic Wonderment’.

It was so lovely to see our ACOFI pals from Forward PR on the way in looking all professional (the last time I saw them, Laura was throwing shapes behind the bar and Nick was dancing with the wall). I was seated next to the owner of a boutique whose name I cannot remember, but who had an adorable baby on her lap who, at eight months, is apparently already into fashion. I think they gage the little one’s reaction on whether she cries or smiles (I do the same myself) and I’m happy to announce that said baby smiled with glee through the entire show – encouraged by the beautiful sounds of Benjamin Ellin‘s orchestra.

Illustration by Madi Illustrates

The room at Fashion Scout was packed, due in part I guess to the attention Jeff received for designing Livia Firth’s stunning Golden Globe gown as part of her ‘Green Carpet Challenge’. The beautiful Peace Silk floor-length dress evoked romance and elegance, two characteristics that have become Prophetik’s signature.

This season, Jeff’s been inspired by the court of Louis XV, when art became frivolous and dressing became romantic. An enormous collection featured gorgeous ripped silks and organic velours, as well as 100 year old quilts, transformed into men’s blazers and worked into dresses, handed down by Jeff’s own great grandmother Lola from Tennessee.

Acclaimed violinist Analiza Ching set the show in motion, frantically playing as she strutted up the catwalk to join the rest of the orchestra. Traditional dress shapes were transformed with said patchwork elements, low cut at the front and some models bearing flesh while other long-sleeved corseted numbers were influenced by Elizabethan dress. Pale models with metres of hair appeared one after the other in a earth-based colour palette of oatmeal, violet and burgundy, and the women bunched their dresses up at the front as they walked in that maiden-like way.

Illustration by Yelena Bryksenkova

The show-stopper at the end was an incredible all-white number (I can see potential brides fawning over this one) with hand-sewn ostrich feathers abundantly attached onto white organza layers. My other faves were a sweeping number in pinstripe heavy fabric, with a corseted top and a frou frou trim; a cropped corset with military elements, blouson sleeves and stiff Baroque cuffs, teamed with a bunched hemp skirt; and the men’s patchwork jacket (apparently made from Jeff’s own bedspread as a child) finished with gold jewellery and a pocket watch.

Illustration by Madi Illustrates

LOVED the shoes, darlings: a collaboration with LA sustainable shoe label CYDWOQ; gorgeous vegetable-tanned leather pointy numbers.

Jeff’s aesthetic sits side by side with his sustainable ethos – it’s earthy, romantic and never boring. I’m not entirely sure that I’ll be wearing a floor-length patchwork jacket with gold buttons come Autumn, but much gratitude to hunky Jeff for bringing a bit of fantasy and fairy tale to this week of shows.

All photography by Matt Bramford

See more of Yelena Bryksenkova’s illustrations is Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration.

Categories ,A/W 2011, ,ACOFI, ,Analiza Chang, ,Artistic Wonderment, ,baroque, ,Benjamin Ellin, ,CYDWOQ, ,Forward PR, ,frou frou, ,Golden Globes, ,Green Carpet Challenge, ,Jeff Garner, ,lfw, ,Livia Firth, ,London Fashion Week, ,Louis XV, ,Orchestra, ,Prophetik, ,Tennessee, ,Vauxhall Fashion Scout

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