Jean Pierre Braganza S/S 2012 illustration by t.reidy
This show was definitely a bit of a calmer affair from the start, pharmacy which can’t be said for every show at the first day of London Fashion Week where there was some customary elbowing and shoving out of the way. As I went to find my seat I spotted fashion writer legends Hilary Alexander and Colin McDowell having a good chat and a giggle together in the front row with Hilary wearing some very sensible yet awesome leopard-print Converse trainers. It was a big comfort to see all the top fashion editors mostly rocking comfortable-yet-cool footwear in fluoro colours or a flashy pattern, pharm as I’d also opted for a pair of flats and was therefore still able to walk instead of hobble to the last show by the end of day.
Jean Pierre Braganza S/S 2012. All photography by Amelia Gregory
London-born (then brought up in Canada) Jean-Pierre Braganza has been a favourite of mine since my fashion illustrator student days when I modelled for my exceptionally cool japanese stylist classmate and got to wear a pair of extra-long cream leggings and a lot of crazy makeup plus a Kate Bush-esque wig (I was convinced I looked like an exotic bag lady, but my classmate was onto something with the wig as Jean-Pierre did have a few tracks by Kate in the show). Although I obviously was by no means making waves in the fashion world, what stuck in my mind was the interesting use of ruching along the lower leg that created a strong yet feminine look that gathered the extra length into an interesting shape. And, that was also way before leggings became a normal part of an outfit and were overdone to the extent they are now. Jean-Pierre has since stuck to his aesthetic of creating sculpture-like garments, making him best known for constructed tailoring with a bit of an edge.
Jean Pierre Braganza S/S 2012 by Helena Maratheftis
As the lights dimmed and the usual loud ‘shhhs’ came from somewhere (I always wonder if this is the PR people or just people like me who’d rather not have yelling over the music) I was able to give the press release a quick read. A trip to Cornwall is where the idea for the collection started; blue skies and fluffy cornish clouds (which made me also think about yummy fluffy Cornish ice-cream) contrasted with the sharp lines found in sculptures by Barbara Hepworth and works by Ben Nicholson. As a thumping song from the latest Daft Punk Tron movie soundtrack started up I wondered just how Jean-Pierre was going to mix this with inspiration from the Art-Deco area with ‘technological aspiration’ and industrial rock.
Jean-Pierre Braganza S/S 2012 by Claire Kearns
Girls stomped out in time to the electro-inspired music with a bit of strong blush on the cheek and hair pulled into a high but loose ponytail, which was then given a sculptural fishtail braid by the Toni & Guy session team. I bumped into of one of the models after the show, Odile from Select (she was being photographed and kept snapping into various model-perfect poses in about 0.3 of a second, incredible to see first-hand) who loved the hair so much she was going to keep it in all day. The first look out was a shift dress with a bit of a flapper silhouette and contrasting cut-out dotted panels that created an amazing effect when the models moved. Touché Mr Braganza, you’ve done it again. I loved the sharp lines around the panels, giving the dress shape (reminding me of Tron-like outfits with lit-up panels from the movie) and a strong but pretty look perfectly complimenting the figure. Very nice to see a dress you can just throw on and immediately look very sculptural and tailored.
The shoes, made by Jean-Pierre for Dune, (so perhaps you’ll see them or a version of them to buy next season) were very high and very unsuitable for the everyday but my goodness they packed a punch. Black detailing was contrasted against pale lemon, bright blood red or even caramel and prints to match the dresses. The ridiculously high peep-toe heels did however come into form on the catwalk, elevating the part-dress part-sculpture girls to a skyscraper level and almost turning their legs into a plinth from which the clothes could be artfully exhibited.
This collection definitely had a lot in it that I loved. Jean-Pierre did sexy cut-outs, which I previously felt puts too much on show and a bit too in-your-face, but in his hands they became petal-soft panels that skimmed curves and held everything in place. They looked almost demure, passing the ‘test’ in where I try to picture myself wearing the dress or shorts or whatever and wonder if I actually would wear it out somewhere nice. It was soft tailoring and sculptural shapes with a feminine yet slightly dark side, which I liked. A lot. There were some gorgeous draped dresses too that reminded me a little of the Spring/Sumer 2010 ‘Dolche Far Niente’ collection by Chalayan but I felt the fabric didn’t have that much to cling to with the slimmer models; some curvier ladies would have worked it better.
A tailored suit or two later, I was admiring the necklaces and gawping over just how high the shoes were when without expecting it, I was completely smitten. It was a dress, but not just any dress. As a lover and illustrator of fashion, I know what colours, shapes and silhouettes will tick my boxes, but I go weak at the knees for a bit of monochrome. I just can’t help it. Blame it on having an architect dad, blame it on the way Comme des Garçons and Chanel use it, blame it on whatever you like because I don’t know why but it always gets me. And this dress got me in a bite-my-lip, ‘damn that’s amazing it’s like wearing a sculpture and can I have it now please’ kind of way. So, I was minding my business scribbling notes and wondering what the grand Hilary Alexander thought of all this when my favourite dress of the show walked out and into, well, yes into my heart. I love it when someone creates with real thought and real skills, and when that thing created is something you can wear, well let’s just say it’s a good thing my budget is no-where near being able to buy stuff like this as I think I’d just stare at it for ages.
Jean-Pierre-Braganza S/S 2012 by Alia Gargum
The dress was the same as the first ‘modern day flapper girl’ dress on the catwalk, but in white with black lines that gloriously framed the figure. A long black line travelled from the neckline down to the hemline, where it met the other lines that framed the hips and outlined the shoulders. It was sexy in a very understated and fresh way, but was by no means casual, and I loved it. I loved that you’d just be able to slip it on, that it would go with anything, and details like the dropped hem at the back means you’d never have to worry about it was too short when you bent over to pick something up or when pulling some 20s-meets-futuristic shapes on the dance floor.
Jean-Pierre-Braganza S/S 2012 by Marcus Reed.
After the dress, I did see a nice silky jumpsuit or two and some lovely patterns that reminded me of shards of coloured glass as well as some very clever details like slightly off-set arm holes but I couldn’t help thinking about the dress. Before I knew it, Jean-Pierre was giving us a little wave from the start of the catwalk and everyone began to file out of the BFC show space. The press release mentioned fashion being ‘about capturing emotion in a glance’, and I would insert some overtly poetic line echoing this, but when it comes down to it I loved a dress so much that it made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. Mr Braganza, I think you truly merit a ‘job well done’ on this collection.
Play the video and watch the show.
- London Fashion Week A/W 2011 Catwalk Review: Jean-Pierre Braganza (by Amelia)
- Jean-Pierre Braganza: London Fashion Week A/W 2013 Catwalk Review
- Jean-Pierre Braganza: London Fashion Week A/W 2012 Catwalk Review
- Jean-Pierre Braganza: London Fashion Week S/S 2013 Catwalk Review
- Jean-Pierre Braganza: London Fashion Week A/W 2014 Catwalk Review