London Fashion Week Day 1: Jamie Wei Huang

As usual, I arrived super early to the venue and was awarded with being able to spot a lot of great coats from the other people waiting in (the very long) line. It was raining quite heavily, so I saw a lot of trench coats, combined with umbrellas and beanies (which was what I exactly was wearing as well).

The Taiwanese born designer, who has a background in art, graduated from Central St. Martins. Her CV is impressive and includes working with high-end fashion houses such as Christopher Kane and Alexander McQueen, acting as a costume designer and tailor for the 2012 London Olympics and Paralympics, and being amongst the top five finalists for the ‘Designer for Tomorrow’ awards and also being personally mentored by Stella McCartney. For her SS 13 show at the Mercedes Benz Berlin Fashion Week she received full sponsorship.

The inspiration for her AW 14 ready-to-wear collection came from the film ‘The Pianist’, which explains why the models walked to beautiful piano music. However, instead of war, the designer focused on the war refugees themselves. The individual is at the centre of her collection.

The combination of various fabrics and textures was intended to recreate the resourcefulness that war dictates. The idea was to take luxury materials and combine them with essential silhouettes to create ‘outfits of necessity’, where fashion becomes part of life and a means of survival but individuals nevertheless retain their own identities. War is present in the background. The use of masked hats, zips and buckle create an awareness of enclosure and a sense of entrapment.

The use of materials such a heavy wool and leather were combined with male silhouettes and strong cuts. They seemed to convey a sense of empowerment. Slowly walking to the piano music the models seemed united and strong, despite the sombre atmosphere. It was very much a modern collection of opposites.

Like in her previous collections Jamie Wei Huang also played with different materials. She managed to counterbalance heavy, menswear inspired materials with delicate fine fabrics and the use of low v-necks and open backs (reversed v-necks). This meant the outfits retained a sense of femininity in her looks.

The contemporary combination of masculinity and femininity is something the designer had played with in her previous collections and does so very well.

Regarding the colour palette, most outfits were held in navy blue, black, grey or white with two looks in which, surprisingly, a pastel rose was used. It worked very well with the other outfits because they were held together by the use of the same heavy materials.

The whole collection felt modern, contemporary, empowering and wearable.

Images: Jamie Wei Huang

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