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Peter Jensen AW17
Fashion – and modern life, for that matter – doesn’t allow for periods of reflection. Well, says Peter Jensen, enough. Fifteen years after his first collection introduced the Jensen brand of quirky-yet-unsentimental charm to the fashion pack, the designer has decided it’s time to look back. ‘But you also look forward when doing that,’ he states, and though this collection posits itself as a kind of Greatest Hits, there is more than enough newness to side-step a sense of déjà- vu.
If there is no official muse this season, that’s maybe because it’s also time to salute those of seasons past. Julie Verhoeven – a long-time collaborator and perhaps a kind of IRL muse herself – draws up a stunning parade of Jensen divinities, among them Nina Simone, Jodie Foster, Gertrude Stein and Shirley Kurata. How disparate these women are; what could possibly link them?
Oversized patch pockets decorate a menswear-inspired overcoat, perfect for the Gertrude Steins of this world, but made in an alpaca and mohair jersey that could please a Helena Rubinstein. Shift dress shapes hint at the practical artistry of sculptor Barbara Hepworth, but adorned with frills and gathers seem to hint at the full-on glamour of Diana Ross, or Helena Rubinstein. A-line skirts and shirt dresses, crew-neck knits and collarless jackets take us back to the prim and preppy stylings of Tina Barney or Candice Marie, but the addition of dropped-puff sleeves, enormous pleats, slits up to the armpits and fabrications like pale yellow satin or mint green corduroy echo the subversive touch of muses Cindy Sherman, Laurie Simmons or bad-girl actress Mink Stole. It appears that there is no definitive muse, and that what counts is the approach: bringing subversive glamour to the quotidian, and a grounded, everyday attitude to glamour.
‘It’s clothes made in lovely fabrics that you can understand within 5 minutes,’ says a disingenuous Jensen, refuting any idea of a seasonal statement. But look closer and you’ll see a possible hint at the future. The famous rabbit logo, after fifteen years’ tireless service, has been re-worked for a new era, and he’s sitting down. This guy isn’t going anywhere.