In a world of fashion brands, celebrities and package deals, sometimes it’s hard to know when things are personal. Lucky for me I had a real douse of the good stuff a few weeks back and it was a refreshing change.
Antoni and Alison are the designer duo that have worked together for 25 years. Even though big designers like themselves, have worked for the same amount of years, many are sadly too corporate or out of reach but with Antoni and Alison, it was like tea and cake with your close friends. After experiencing their shows in 2012, it was a privilege to be invited down to their EC1 shop for a chat and to have a look at their A/W 2013 collection.
I was warmly welcomed by both the designers and it was lovely to be taken around the brand’s store and all that goes on in its three levels.
The new A/W collection was showcased in the basement space which was something the duo loved doing as this is their work enviroment. The ground floor is the shop floor which is currently selling their S/S line and also leads the way, up some old steep wooden stairs to the tea room on the 1st floor. With a vintage and very English feel, you won’t want to leave this peaceful and delicious cake filled space anytime soon. The store is situated on a corner of Rosebery Avenue so light floods both the ground and 1st floor, giving both inspiration and natural light to the designers. I was told by Antoni that they loved the shape of the shop so much and it was originally going to be commandeered by an Indian takeaway business but thankfully, Antoni and Alison swooped in and claimed this prime location.
Now, the clothes….
As soon as I saw the new collection, it really struck me that the brand have taken a very original idea of art, fun and photography and made it into accessible and ‘throw on’ dresses that are lusty and statement worthy. Antoni and Alison played with laying different fabrics, textures and even brio pads and photographed the finished look to use as a print. The team then used miniatures (in this case kitchen rolls), to show how the finished print could work on clothing. From this, the print was then passed onto a t-shirt which later became a dresses collection.
The one thing though that is truly amazing about this technique, is its 3D appearance. The photography is so effective that you think you can reach out and touch the different textures but in fact you are just touching a flat piece of fabric. You almost need to stare at the dresses to reassure your brain that you aren’t seeing things.
When asked what the inspiration was, the pair simply stated that they just wanted to experiment with textures and photography and from that, one of their strongest collections has been created.
The story of how this quaint shop and unique designing came about seemed to be as smooth as their silk dresses. Both were studying at St. Martins (Antoni was learning the ways to Fashion while Alison was studying Fine art) and their mutual friends seemed to know they were destined for greatness before they had even met. Once they eventually did, a bond was clearly made and they have worked together ever since. With Antoni’s fancy style and Alison’s more sensible approach, you can see it was their different styles that balanced out their creative minds and gave us what we love today…
Fun Fashion that is stylish to wear and personal to them, me and you.