When I was ten, it was ever so exciting to be let loose on a school trip to Cornwall, to mark the end of our primary school career. Seeing Don Quixote in the Minack theatre by the sea, getting scared by sea lions at the seal sanctuary, enjoying all the tourist trappings of Land's End, eating copious amounts of ice cream and dodging cream of tomato soup and bed and breakfast hotels – all brilliant and weirdly memorable out of the abundance of trips I've been all over the world.
The most well-known female sculptor Barbara Hepworth figures into that jolly trip as we went to the pretty Hepworth Museum and Gardens in St.Ives, where her former studio was. Sculpted holes, smooth lines and curvaceous harmony. It's understandable why the boys in the class weren't as enthralled with Babs as we girls.
One boy did take inspiration though as I was delighted to discover that Peter Jensen has made Barbara Hepworth his latest muse for his S/S 13 collection, which is why I'm indulgently reminiscing in Cornish kiddie dreams. ‚ÄúI, the sculptor, am the landscape. I am the form and I am the hollow, the thrust and the contour‚Äù is the quote that punctuates the clothes. Not to knock Hepworth's talent as a sculptor but Jensen cites her blandness as the reason why he was inspired. "She is grown up, in her art and her dress sense. She‚Äôs very uniformed, which I like," explains Jensen.
Hepworth also famously worked hard as a sculptor: "I found one had to do some work every day, even at midnight, because either you're professional or you're not.‚Äù It's this professionalism coupled with the grown-up sensibility of the sculptor that really kicks this collection into another gear in Jensen's world. We know he can do lovable oddness and whimsicality but this is a collection that is reined in by the calming influence of Hepworth. In the clothes, Jensen references Hepworth's sculptural work in the prints and in the shapes making use of that ovoid form as well as taking inspiration from what she wore to work such as an artist's smock reconfigured into white georgette. Even the prints which are no less witty – moles peeping out of pinstripes, trompe l'oeil sequins and people lying on a beach – are employed in a subtle way, allowing the shapes of pieces such as an elongated sleeved jackets and assymetric trench coat to make the case for Jensen as a quirky tailor. The world isn't so bland though when you have eyes peering through ovoid-holed visor hats created with Bernstock Speirs and lace-up brogues that have also been punctured with a hole. Jensen's growing accessories are also bring this new gen Hepworth girl to life. Yes, she has her Jensen bunny bags and iPad cases but she's now also got a humongous satchel, the biggest I've ever seen for shoving her A2 portfolio in. Art and design students take note. They are going into production and they'll be jabbing you in the body on a tube near you soon enough.