Only at an Antoni & Alison presention would rows of kitchen paper rolls (emptied) adorned with bits of printed paper alongside silk dresses, make complete and utter sense. Only in the world of Antoni Burakowski and Alison Roberts do the words "The kitchen paper roll is our girl this season!" Blue Peter presenters of past and present would be ever so proud to look at these paper tubes draped with paper and put to good use. Someone needs to help my mum out with her addiction to keeping empty margerine tubs. Maybe Antoni and Alison will know what to do with them. To be serious though, Antoni and Alison saw a parallel proportion between the kitchen roll tube and the height of a mannequin so that when they applied the smaller bits of paper printed with photographs of all manners of found textures and textiles and then blew them up to human sized proportions, they became perfectly formed dresses.
The duo have been using photo printing for a while now but this season, it's the depth of the photographed textiles that really astonishes you. The trompe l'oeil effect of seeing a photo print of draped and folds of olive taffeta on a silk dress is a convincing illusion. Likewise, sequins look like they are really shining in 3-D form, denim does look like it's bunching up at the bust and the cross-stitched seams of a checked blanket do look they're physical stitches on a bat-winged dress. The jig is up when you touch the actual garments and when you spot things such as photographic representation of the staples which were used to "pin" the pieces of paper on to the kitchen rolls. In the world of Antoni & Alison, staples along with kitchen rolls are beautiful things. Same goes for the surface of scourer pads, bits of broken tiles and loose ends of gold trims. They're all photographed meticulously and printed onto their A/W 13-4 collection of dresses and skirts and you're none the wiser because of the way photographic prints on silk completely obscure the humble beginnings of these fabric compositions which Antoni & Alison have created. A print of a piece of bright green electrical tape holding a fold of a piece of tweed down in a long empire line gown is as valid a design feature as any bit of wizard drapery or fine beading. It's a round about way of preserving textiles, in a similar vein to the way Katerina Jebb's photographs of scanned garments printed as panels in Acne's A/W 13-4 collection. Except funnier. Because scourer pads and kitchen rolls are involved.
Pop along to Antoni & Alison's store in Clerkenwell at the moment and you shall find a summer appropriate explosion of sparkle, crayola scribbles, floral scrawls and lashings of colour as their S/S 13 25th anniversary collection of silk dresses and fun knits are available right now. I couldn't resist getting in on the exuberance of it all. Antoni & Alison's dual personality is once again at play on the dress that I picked (and it was a tough choice from what's in-store at the moment) as the front is adorned with giant spangly brooches representing the more flamboyant Antoni and the back of it is streaked with subtle washes of colour and thin strokes of pink that are meant to look like pleats, which is more of Alison's thing.