Dishevelled asymmetry and ruffled textures were everywhere at Phoebe English SS16.
Palette of Texture
If the colour scheme was restrained and simple on Phoebe English’s range of predominantly black, white and beige pieces, then the textures were anything but: panels of micro-squares which disintegrated into flapped edges at the sides were placed jauntily over dresses in the same shade so that they took on the appearance of soft-armour – fabric dangling like straps underneath and above these layers helped to solidify this sense that these were garments made up of obviously discrete parts and pieces.
Equally, though, the tonal nature of the outfits often meant that the disconnectedness of the composite elements became ambiguous; sometimes pieces in an ensemble dissolved into one another, becoming a multi-surfaced collage of similarly fabricated layers that beautifully demonstrated English’s precision cutting.
Displacement was a key term for the designer this season and it showed in the deliberate imperfection that permeated many of the designs. Dresses found themselves with cleanly cut flaps in them or with hems that were severely and purposefully asymmetrical, while highly textured fabrics like canvas and flax lent a raw and tactile finish to outfits that were otherwise sleek and semi-formal in their dense blackness. It was a sophisticated and original take on deconstruction – and managed to interpret that term in an entirely different way to, say, Martin Margiela in the 90s.
WORDS: Benji Walters