Bouchra Jarrar had me at her beautiful floral silk and knit sweaters when I went to go see her new ready to wear collection yesterday. Well in actual fact, this new ready to wear offering is really a simpler diffusion of her higher end ready to wear line which was presented during the S/S12 haute couture week back in January. The move to have more younger labels in that haute couture schedule does mean that the lines are blurred somewhat between what is ready to wear and what is haute couture in the strictest sense. Therefore it was useful to go into the showroom this week and break down Jarrar's different strands of offerings that her steadily fledgling brand now produces.
Jarrar first made her mark as a long serving studio manager at Balenciaga under Nicolas Ghesquiere from 1996-2006 and from that experience, she seems to have gleaned an exacting precision combined with her own feminine sensibility for making clothes-that-work-for-women (put Stella and Phoebe in the same category). This doesn't make the clothes sound very exciting and I know people may tire of my saying "You have to see all of this up close!" but I'm unapologetically at that stage when appreciation of non-tricksy clothes is growing by the day. Therefore delving into Jarrar's trio of lines was something of a refreshing respite.
The first is her aforementioned simpler ready to wear line which comprises of lovely day dresses, knits and jackets, that borrow motifs and colours from the more directional ready to wear line and retains an immaculate level of finishing. I couldn't help but admire how good some of the dresses looked on the PRs and on the fit models and of course, it goes witout saying that the sweet knit and silk sweaters are high up on my swoon list.
Although her mainline collection was presented during the S/S12 haute couture week, this collection is in fact an autumn winter collection, which funnily enough preempts the covered up necks and high collars that we've been seeing this whole fashion month. I loved all the nifty neckwear solutions that Jarrar proposed - furry collars with leather buckles, quilted foldover scarves featuring that delicate floral silk, college stripe ribbed neck wraps - all of which can be layered up and doubled up when necessary for extra protection. It taps into that feeling of being eager to conceal your face and muffle your ears when it gets really cold. Frankly, disappearing into neck scarves never looked so good.
Then finally there's Jarrar's proper haute couture pieces which are only ostentatious by neccessity. This beaded top (note the gold buttons with Bouchra Jarrar's name embossed into them) for instance was paired with a pair of tailored grey wool trousers despite being hand crafted by Lesage. The buckled and belted demi wool gilet is also a feat of craftsmanship and picks out the neck snood motif of the rest of the collection whilst being a one-off piece in its own right.