Ones To Watch: Phoebe English

Photography by Magdalene Golembiewska

Bravely breaking the ice at the VFS Ones To Watch show was ice blonde Central Saint Martins MA graduate Phoebe English. It had been a long wait for the overwhelmingly overcrowded 5:30PM showing and it kicked off with a multitude of monochrome mini dresses with raw fringe details that almost scraped the runway. English, well known for her use of hair in her previous collection went back to her roots; honing her signature style which she says is 'defined, complex and detailed'.

Scooped backs, minimalist cuts, short skirts and capped sleeves. From afar the collection looked clean cut with sporadic floor length fringing, however it was all in the details. Not a stark contrast from the black rubber faux-hair godess-esque dresses from her previous collection; for Spring/Summer'12 English reverted to an organic, clumpy atmosphere that resonated through the carefully constructed, tightly pleated calico canvas separates. Predominantly dominated by black; the lack of colour simply enhanced the exquisite hand detailing and man hours spent on perfecting each individual garment. Her background in knit was evident to see through the sheer precision of the intricate details, and despite the fact that she stuck to genuine fabrics this time rather than the thickets of hair; the level of innovation left all the forward thinking fashion mavericks in the room drooling.

However as soon as it began, it was over. The collection went by so fast it was hard to keep up. The raw edge fringing struggled to keep up with the power houses that were the half ponytailed, half extended fringed models that stormed the catwalk like sirens in the night. A wide eyed smile from Phoebe and a nod of recognition and the music dipped.

I caught up with English shortly after the show backstage chatting to stylist Rebekah Roy. Post storm thoughts and feelings were a mixture of relief and fatigue but ultimately happiness. “We have been working on the collection for about 7 weeks so yeah quite a short amount of time but i've had a really fantastic team helping me and we work really well together so it got a good pace to it. The inspiration I had, well I just wanted something a bit heavier, a bit bulkier than the stuff from the last collection so I was just trying to move it forward in a new direction.” As to what she is doing this evening? “I'm going to have some champagne”...We think this sounds like a good idea!

Text: Madeleine Ayers
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