If someone forced me to choose only one Autumn/Winter 2012 womenswear collection at the forthcoming London Fashion Week, I would not hesitate to select the exquisite garments produced by the very talented designers Catherine Teatum and Rob Jones, the duo behind the emerging label Teatum Jones. I recently had a sneak preview in their studio in South London and can't wait to see the final products of their 'Once upon an Innocence' collection.
As in their highly accomplished Spring/Summer 2012 collection, Teatum Jones will rely on outstanding prints and exquisite cut and detailing to engender literally fabulous narratives. The collection (scheduled to be presented on 18 February at Liberty, the central London department store that also sells their garments) is inspired by the subversive undertones of fables, the brothers Grimm fairy tales, and elaborate Hollywood crime scene photographs of the 1940s in intelligent ways that imbue each garment with intricate and beguiling stories.
The palette chosen for the prints reflects the dual ambiguity of the fairy tale's cautionary moral nature while questioning its role as a pedagogical tool used to impose social codes and values: bright pinks contrast with dark greens and charcoal as a way to emphasize the idea that innocence and virtuosity can be easily dethroned to reveal dark and cruel realities underneath. In addition, each garment includes details such as secret folds, unexpected draping, and hidden pockets to evoke magical fairy tale landscapes of woods and unexpected mounds that are faced as one delves deeper and deeper in the search for meaning.
Teatum Jones' work process is impressive and moving for anyone who appreciates fashion as a powerful language used to construct personal and social meanings: Catherine and Rob work in incredible synchronicity from the moment they gather inspirations for mood boards to agreeing on the right music that accompanies their presentation to buyers and press. When one listens to how they describe their motivation and production methods, it is hard not to admire their cerebral, contemplative and poised creative process.
Personally, I can't wait for 18 February to explore Teatum Jones' collection of storytelling garments, and very much hope that Catherine and Rob never let go of the hard intellectual work and poignant sources of inspiration that they have learnt to master so that they can create more successful collections for many years to come.