The Fashion in Motion series at the Victoria & Albert Museum has been picking up pace in the latter part of this year with not one but two shows in consecutive months. It seems like designers in London are in the mood to look back on their accumulation of collections and accolades that they have collectively achieved, what with the glut of ten year anniversaries coming up (Ashish, Christopher Kane, Erdem to name but a few) Peter Pilotto and his partner Christopher de Vos have notched in the eighth year of their joint label – not quite ten – but still a substantial number of collections to look back on, considering their progression from showing off-schedule at LFW to a brand with substantial investment behind it and presence in every major retailer in the world.
Backstage it was interesting to look at the leaps that the duo have taken from their early speckled galaxy printed silks that represented the beginning of a digital print wave that then hit fashion at large, to their current autumn winter collections, where board game patterns are created by panelling, texture and innovative knitwear. Fashion in Motion represents an opportunity not just to show in the beautiful Raphael Gallery and to offer a wider audience a chance to see catwalk shows in movement, but also for the designers to reflect on their journey as designers. You can’t get a nicer way to pat yourself on the back than a show in this esteemed venue where Alexander McQueen and Christian Lacroix have also participated in shows.
For de Vos and Pilotto, they were surprised by the continuity from collection to collection. The breadth of inspirations might span anything from the colours of nature – butterfly wings, mineral deposits and waves of the ocean to observations taken from globe trotting such as the lights of Tokyo and Chinese opera masks. How the pair abstract these references is what gives their patterns a point of difference that marks them out as distinctly Peter Pilotto. Their journey of pattern making has also managed to undergo changes in methodology that sees them wavering from digital print to complex embroidery, panelling of textures and innovative textiles such as their supremely intricate smacking in their latest spring summer 2016 collection.
This Fashion in Motion show demonstrated that even as the duo volte from theme to theme or technique to technique, they manage to retain their original voice. They also got to remix some of their key looks by inviting make up rebel, Isamaya Frrench to come and work her instinctively playful magic, inspired by prints like the tropical florals of S/S 12. Or she brought her own spin as in the case of the kabuki esque striped painted face that was also one of the stand out looks. The resulting show was one that highlighted one of the riotous success stories of pattern and colour at London Fashion Week.