nzfw2013 – lela jacobs

I am entirely sure where to start with this show.  Because it wasn’t really a show in the traditional sense at all. Even before the models came down the runway, each seat had a beautifully printed set of notes about De – the collection we were about to see. And a thank you from the designer herself for coming.  That is an unusually rare thing. And she went on to explain her philosophy about the collection, about the decentralisation of fashion, about the handmade, the artisan made. About black – about there being lots of black in the collection because this forces you in a way to look for the texture, for the layers, at the fabric itself and at the construction.

It was a collection of exquisitely made garments. With models gliding down the runway in half time, and beautiful, gentle live music – you got time to appreciate the garments. To appreciate the fabrics – the slub silks, the boiled wools, the silks, the bamboo fibre. With many of the garments with raw edges – and intentional runs in the knitwear – perfection is not the ideal.  It is something else altogether. In fact the knitwear with the runs in it is a perfect example of how Lela works. When the knitted cotton garment came back from being made, it had one small run in it.  Instead of assigning it to a ‘second’, the flaw was worked on and made bigger, added to and threads stitched into the weave to make it ‘more’ than it was.

The use of the vintage furs is an interesting one.  She has taken these vintage furs that are no-longer considered useful, stripped them of their lining, turned them inside out then hand painted some of them and left others raw. This means the beauty of the object is INSIDE and for the wearer rather than on the outside for others. The beautiful bibbed shirts in raw silk were inspired by an antique dress shirt that was taken apart. I loved the oversized kimono coats in boiled wool and intricate anchor stitches holding the whole thing together.

At the end as the models left the stage, many of us felt that clapping was not the ‘right’ thing to do.  It was a beautiful collection of garments shown in a way that perfectly suited the clothes, and their designer. And we were lucky to have been there.

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