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Fashion: Kate Sylvester's Harder Edged Collection

Fashion Week: Kate Sylvester Shows Harder Edged Collection

Before this show began we had heard rumours of a new direction from the designer; we’d also deducted through a process of elimination that she was the name who would be launching menswear yesterday evening.

From the first outfit it was apparent that this was a more directional, harder edged collection that will win the designer a new fan base without frightening off too many of those who loved her more feminine offerings.

“Art Groupie” came about when Sylvester rediscovered a fur cup and saucer set by Surrealist Meret Oppenheim, and set about to create “a collection as mad, unexpected and beautiful as that work.”

Mad translated to padded hand “fascinators” on models’ heads; a zany black and white tunic with Picassoesque head and shoulder filling one sleeve and side; eyes printed on the bust of a dress or the ankles of tights; and an extraordinary contraption of fur sleeves with button-trimmed strapping connecting each across the body.

Unexpected was definitely the less romantic ambience; but when you dismantle the masterful styling by Karen Inderbitzen-Waller the individual pieces are wearable and will probably be super-versatile as the colour palette is tight and neutral with very limited exceptions in red and green.

And beautiful? Restrained pearly button detailing was the standout for me in terms of “wow, that’s really pretty” but yes – Sylvester triumphed, Art Groupie has an almost haunting beauty when viewed as a whole. This is a collection which has just grown and grown on us on reflection – a sure sign of an enduring favourite.

Finally to the menswear. While the actual pieces seemed quite simple – knits and trousers and sportier jackets, it can only be good news that Sylvester is catering for men – we’re already excited about her perfect tailoring and quality being available to the blokes we love.

Julie Roulston

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