In one of the Mason Yard’s many cavernous halls dark figures in top hats are dotted about like statues in a Geek garden, deliberately placed so it feels as though they surround you, as though when your back is turned they follow you around the room. The models are dressed uniformly, head to toe in quirky, Wilde-esque Victoriana ensembles and a man pristinely dressed in similar suit (as if one of the mannequins come to life) dashes between them making fastidious adjustments.
A La Disposition are a husband and wife team; Daniel Kinne focuses on design and tailoring (he trained as a tailor in Carnaby Street), whilst Lynda Cohen Kinne decides textiles. Though there are obvious influences, Daniel maintains that there is no particular inspiration behind the work; it is more “a body of work that we build together”. The result is a definitive collection of pieces, from pantaloons to tailcoats and dresses that are well considered both in terms of texture and shape and as Daniel points out “Looks good in the Presentation format”.
Daniel creates dramatic, exaggerated silhouettes; elongated sleeves that trail on the floor, big shoulders and hips, heavy draping, layered lapelles and the odd surprise in the detailing like cuffs around the ankles, giving bohemian allure. Lynda is responsible for the towering mad hatter top hats, which surprisingly she taught herself to make using an old 1980’s book on hat making found in the attic. Lynda’s fabrics are heavy and dark (the collection is called “Into the Gathering Dusk” after all), though there is depth in the darkness: Rich texture and contrasting geometric patterns, reversed black and white, which Daniel describes as their “x-ray theme”. One particular jacket is constructed from a fabric that shimmers revealing black crosses that then fade and disappear again. Daniel laughs in his warm American lilt, “The collection is the upbeat side of black”.
Tradition and heritage are evident in the designs, which isn’t surprising when you learn that Daniel taught history of design at Parsons. However, he explains, “ In order to learn about the history of fashion, you must understand the history of the construction, pattern and cut of the designs”. The cut and tailoring of these pieces really is exquisite and the experimental mix of heritage and contemporary is progressive.
Amy Jane Lockwood, VFS contributor.
Photography by Natalia Ilina