This Modern Life

This Modern Life

Despite London being my hometown, I've never really been bound to the city for a lengthy amount of time and for as long as I can remember, flying or driving great distances to other destinations has been a very natural state of being for me and my restless family (who maintain that they can't appreciate the good things about London unless they travel and experience frequent "homecomings").  

Entering an even more hyper-packed schedule of travelling recently though has somehow made me appreciate the sort of clothes that really wear well.  The things that are easy and have ease abouasthem.  It's true that I've come home with a suitcase bulging with colourful embroideries, ethnic costume and a plethora of young designer togs but the clothes or accessories that need to get dry-cleaned or washed immediately are the things that are neutral in state, slightly unassuming but dependable and definitely not lacking in design interest.  A few examples are a Monki tri-coloured denim shirt,  3.1 Phillip Lim's pashli in white, a Dion Lee Line II jumper that has an interesting cut-out back and a Band of Outsiders striped t-shirt in the softest of cottons – these are the things that are gonna need a bit of scrub as soon as I properly unpack. 

As I was going through A/W 12-3 pics (yes, I'm finally getting in that frame of mind – am I late or right on time, eh?), I batched together a quad of collections filled with pieces that look like they'd take on the heavy responsibility of enduring through weary travel, toil and wear n'tear.   I've spoken of the "wardrobe grafters"or the "cogs" that are my version of basic pieces.  Both of these sound like very boring terminology to apply to these collections because in their own right, they are special collections.  It's just that they don't need to shout it out with PRINTS, COLOUR and ORNAMENTATION.  You'd be surprised perhaps at my appreciation of clothes lacking in those elements but there you go.  Call it old age.  Or blame it on travel fatigue.   Apologies if I can't fly the rainbow-cray-cray flag all the time but relishing the days of wearing a simple navy and white jumpsuit and a pair of loafers can be just as rewarding.  


Du≈°an - I've been an admirer of Du≈°an Paunovic's spare aesthetic and his dedication to fabrication and proportions.  A/W 12-3 was another triumph of a collection that may have slipped under many people's radar but also looks wonderful to slip on – everything from the ribbed elongated cardigans, the antique looking button-up shirts and the soft leather slippers.  He makes use of the frayed edges of herringbone tweed to form kilt-esque skirts that are sometimes knotted at the waist.  The fraying continues in the heavy grey wool coats and jackets, which celebrates the cream facing on the inside.  Backstage at the show in Milan in Paunovic's beautiful showroom, the models didn't look like they were in "costume" or "dressing-up" for their jobs.  They were refreshingly untortured and looked like they could slip away from the show in the clothes immediately.  If they were gonna shed their clothes, I might have stolen a cream cardi or a coat off one of them and slipped away myself.    












J JS Lee - It's not surprising that Jackie J.S. Lee formed her A/W 12-3 collection by looking at views outside an airplane, wafting clouds and shadow on concrete.   These are just the type of quiet nuances in life that the Korean-born, London-based designers would look at to find inspiration.  I've been fascinated with her work ever since her MA collection of hand-stitched in details of collars, cuffs and seemliness that are then padded with foam to give a raised tromp l'oeil effect.  Those surreal but subtle details remain in this collection but she has played with texture by playing with other fabric techniques such as padded-out crepe silks and felt embossing over ribbed knits mimicking candy-floss like clouds.  Asymetry gives her collection balance as she places off-kilter slits and varies up skirt and shirt lengths at the front and back.  Finished off with thick-soled loafer boots, the clothes come off looking polished but not precious.  Jackie has admittedly eased up and has tackled her own embracing of femininity without sacrificing what is inherently special about her love of tailoring.  













Peter Jensen –  It might seem a little odd to place Peter Jensen's "Thelma" collection in this foursome of a post but then again, the muse for A/W 12-3 was Thelma Speirs of Bernstock & Speirs, who I saw at the London Advanced Style book launch not long ago.  The collection celebrated "proper clothes" that are playfully and subtly subverted.  I suppose that's the general gist of many of Jensen's collections but it is Speirs' spirit and personality that is celebrated – the contrast point between say her love of Radio 4 and then her posing naked for Ponystep magazine.  I've not scored a naked photoshoot yet (never say never!) but I definitely understand that contradiction.  The very visual contrast between pearl-corded headphones with a sensible shirt and an A-line coat is one that resonates with me especially what with my head permanently attached to a pair of UrbanEars.  The actual clothes themselves are some of Jensen's unfussiest and simplest he has done, losing none of the charm that have endeared him to his fanbase.  The ever-present Jensen bunny pops up in some of the chunky knits and also in the hats, which Thelma Speirs herself had a hand in creating.  Jensen's clothes are generally for repetitive daily wear, judging from some of the pieces I have but thanks to Thelma's approchable quirk, this collection seems even more groomed for heavy rotation. 














Richard Nicoll – The very title of Richard Nicoll's A/W 12-3 collection – "Modern Times" – prompted this post.  After the trippy and tricky plastics of S/S 12, it seems Nicoll wanted to pare it back and so for A/W 12-3, he thought about the notion of modern work habits and fusing that with industrial factory workwear.  The collection itself was actually presented within a space where models walked around on rotation with the lookbook being shot there and then for all to see – fashion's very own factory line.  Work, routine and grind were emphasised and Nicoll proposed clothes that would make those tasks a lot more bearable and even enjoyable.  I've spoken to men who wear suits to work and make a big song and dance of begrudging having to wear one but then secretly find it empowering.  You wouldn't have to be coy about loving Nicoll's clothes though.  It would tickle me to see the City's rat race awash with this collection.  The very fabrication of most of the collection – crepe de chine, cashmere, merino wool, leather and mohair – cries for tactile touching.  The primary colours and tones of grey and white draw you in in their solid blocks, freed from print and embellishment.  It's almost as if Nicoll has purposely stripped it back, coming to terms with what his strengths are and knowing who his customer is and this collection with its presentation format and stylistic tone is his culmination point.  

On a more literal level, Nicoll has addressed fashion at work with an exclusive bag  that is a collaboration with Vodafone, crafted by Tusting.  A bag that charges a phone and lights up when calls come thought might sound like a cheesy gimmick but in person, it's quite impressive.  The bag charges magnetically and with cables carefully concealed and phone discreetly placed, it doesn't feel like a novelty bag but rather a bag that happens to charge phones competently.  It can't be long before we take a feature like this for granted.  With my carrying two phones just to get through one day, I'm certainly itching for this bit of simple technology to make it to the masses and Nicoll's efforts will be my testing guinea pig.     


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  1. Joy Davis

    2012-06-18 at 2:32 PM

    I am stunned at the designers putting out sturdy designs. However, I am a huge fan of color and print. There is always something to be said for a strong white or tan piece. Does that sound boring?

  2. Cassandra

    2012-06-18 at 2:46 PM

    Amazing collections! 😀 Love how simple yet unique all the clothes look!

  3. Dark Blue Stripes

    2012-06-18 at 2:59 PM

    I love the vast array of neutral pieces in the first two collections that look like they would be perfect for travelling due to their versatility.
    Christie x

  4. Elisa Eymery

    2012-06-18 at 3:23 PM

    Quite refreshing to see paired-down silhouettes, colours and fabrics. Sometimes a healthy dose of minimalism is as daring as a rainbow inspired outfit.
    Wandering Minds fashion

  5. Serdane

    2012-06-18 at 3:48 PM

    Nice post ! The pictures are surprising !

  6. Olive

    2012-06-18 at 4:01 PM

    I love all Peter Jensen’s Collections! Those pieces are amazing. I totally falling in love with the grey hair!

  7. Peter

    2012-06-18 at 5:24 PM

    This clothing is all overwhelmingly perfectly minimalistic and “casual.” This is what I aspire to express with my aesthetic – either through other people i photograph or my personal style.
    x Peter @ http://low–

  8. ttea

    2012-06-18 at 5:51 PM

    I particularly like the designs that use the tartan. Very sophisticated yet playful and quirky as well. Judging from the name Dusan (i don’t know how to replicate the accent) the designer is probably scandinavian and the clothes very much represent that. It’s not my favourite look but it is very recognizable. As usual the post provides lots of insight.

  9. Steffi

    2012-06-18 at 6:55 PM

    amazing impressions! i love these simple and colourful outfits, the staight cut lines and the perfect and minimalistic style. thanks

  10. amanda

    2012-06-18 at 7:28 PM

    the shoes’ in jackie lee’s collection are AWESOME.

  11. jeanne berre

    2012-06-18 at 7:55 PM

    I love the purity of these lines.

  12. becky

    2012-06-18 at 8:07 PM

    Love the tartan designs

  13. holy innocents

    2012-06-18 at 8:34 PM


  14. hannah alehandra

    2012-06-18 at 8:39 PM

    Beautiful. So very inspired by these designers, thank you, Susanna.

  15. saigon

    2012-06-18 at 11:52 PM

    very simplistic and basic. some shoes belong to the past, but the loafer design is something very interesting. aside from the mobile charging bag, i would mostly applaud the loafer

  16. Rhoda

    2012-06-19 at 6:12 AM
  17. Jennifer

    2012-06-19 at 3:19 PM

    Simple and conservative yet the elegance is still there. I like the mobile charging bag. It’s very unique and suits the smart look of the models.

  18. Jatinda

    2012-06-19 at 6:08 PM

    They are aren’t they, I believe how simple they are, really clean cut outfits. I love the simplicity on the models faces too.
    I only started my blog last week, please feel to check it out and feel free to leave comments. I have 7 posts so far

  19. Jatinda

    2012-06-19 at 6:10 PM

    I also love the pictures, so clear and just look so crisp and amazing.
    I’m afraid my camera isn’t so glam like that.
    I only started a blog last week, feel free to visit it,

  20. Jatinda

    2012-06-19 at 6:13 PM

    You see I am quite stunned too at how these designers come out with such amazing and fresh designs but I guarantee you if I was to wear something like that to work, or to university, I would get stared at, PARTICULARLY in my hometown in Kent.
    I only started a blog last week, please check it out and feel free to leave comments.
    Do you have a blog, please let me know so I can visit it.

  21. Jatinda

    2012-06-19 at 6:18 PM

    I was trying to find the grey hair, but then I think I saw the grey hair, and I love the outfit the model is wearing too.
    feel free to check out my style blog that I started last week,

  22. Lauren

    2012-06-19 at 11:13 PM

    I love the simplicity and palette of J JS Lee’s collection. The knits are beautiful.

  23. Deadly Bite

    2012-06-27 at 12:44 PM

    I love Du≈°an’s collection – so minimalistic and yet so cool! Usually, I’m not into minimalism at all, but this collection reminds me of that period in the late 90s when minimalistic outfits made of rough oversized pieces in raw textures that comined different shades of grey, which I actually loved 😀

  24. Alice

    2012-06-29 at 4:41 AM

    I’m also thrilled to see this feature again.

  25. Ice

    2012-07-10 at 10:35 AM

    Your super unique style is such an inspiration.
    friend link:

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