Of the coveted big four fashion weeks London is the one the industry looks to for up-and-coming talent. New York pushes luxe sports style, Milan provides the ‘sex’ and Paris is the quintessential capital of chic; London masses great expectations as the hub of raw talent and progressive design. Achingly cool British designer and winner of the autumn/winter 11/12 ‘Vauxhall Fashion Scout Merit Award’ Georgia Hardinge is heralded as the capital’s latest one-to-watch, setting pulses racing with her signature architectural cuts and infallible sense of style.
Fittingly entitled ‘Spined’, the Hardringe vision for autumn/winter 11/12 is fiercely anatomical, seeing her trademark sculpted aesthetic reference skeletal forms and body parts. While the stimulus sounds undeniably morbid the interpretation proved both beautiful and wearable, exemplifying the designer’s skill to take an avant-garde idea and translate it into a viable modern collection.
With the macabre photography of Joel Peter Witkin providing the morose backbone for her striking aesthetic, Hadringe served up a host of city-smart ensembles. A graphic monochrome and nude palette was an intelligent choice, providing a blank canvas for her intricate fabric-play and sculptural shapes. Outsized jackets paired with skinny fit slacks boasting linear vertebrae-pleats characterise the overriding look while bold x-ray style placement prints felt young, edgy and ‘ready-to-wear’. Accordion fabric folds evoke the look of scaled-up rib-cages and wrap around the wearer in faux protection of the vital organs. Built up layers of leather, suede, wool and chiffon enhanced the textural finish that underpins Hardringe’s work and is set to make her a star.
We were in attendance at the packed out Freemasons Hall venue for the rising stars first stand-alone show and had the opportunity to find out a little more about her inspirations and motivations in an exclusive interview after the event.
Mpdclick: This is your first solo show, what was the lead up the event like and how did it feel to have your name on the illustrious London Fashion Week schedule?
Georgia: It was great; it’s such a privilege and honour to be able to do it. Of course it was hard work, really hard! but so worth it. I had a great team of people helping me and fantastic interns; you need to have people around you that you can rely on and when you spend that much time with them you have to be able to get on and have a laugh.
Mpdclick: The collection is architectural in cut, is this concurrent throughout your work?
Georgia: Yes definitely, my signature look is very architectural; I like to push with the limitations of fabric and work with it.
Mpdclick: The aesthetic is very anatomical,; the pleats and folds look almost like vertebrae. Can you tell us a bit more about your influences for the collection?
Georgia: Ha, you are a genius, it is exactly that. I like darkness, I am all about the darkness really but of course I need to translate my ideas to others and I want people to want to wear it. I am really influenced by photography and this collection was inspired by a photographer whose work I love, Joel Peter Witkin. He looks at death, disfiguration and dismembered body parts. I find the idea really interesting; it’s like the Mexican celebration of death. Though I really focused on the idea of anatomic body parts it’s a more accepted translation.
Mpdclick: The prints are really interesting, did you design them yourself?
Georgia: Absolutely, they are acrylic prints; they are based on the idea of psychological inkblot tests (Rorschach) where you fold the design together and open it up to see what comes out then make of it what you will.