#SuzyLFW Presentation In A Digital Age: Nicholas Kirkwood And Peter Pilotto
Nicholas Kirkwood: A Blade Runner Moment
A bank of digital screens formed the backdrop, broadcasting the QVC channel. The retro, high-tech backdrop and the slogan “Join the resistance” introduced a world of futurism via Blade Runner. From the moment the first model stomped across the stage, Nicholas Kirkwood’s show was already a winner. And that was even before he had presented his story – all about protective shoes.
“The idea is a tyrannical regime stamping down on creativity,” an emotional Kirkwood explained backstage. “These girls are going to be forced underground to be free to use technology and creativity to express themselves and rebel against the evil dictator.”
And who would not be afraid of these bold, new, millennial women, dressed in body-conscious white sportswear and wearing killer shoes? There were wedge heels that looked like teeth; glassy, transparent, block heels; royal-blue uppers with turquoise below; and thigh-high boots.
The most dramatic shoes had ankle-straps in a multitude of colours, which commanded attention even before the models moodily opened and slammed the fridge doors on set.
Kirkwood offered an intelligent explanation of his work in his show notes, under the headline “Interference”, which outlined the sub-culture of hacking. But a great presentation speaks louder than words. And this was a terrific show to feed social media – and youthful feet.
Peter Pilotto: Anyone for cocktails?
Do smart, hip millennials really go to Trader Vic’s at London’s Hilton hotel for a Mai Tai? Or was the idea of squeezing the audience into a time-warp bar a fun gesture by Christopher de Vos and Peter Pilotto? It was in keeping with previous presentations, where the duo’s intensive prints were shown up-close to a fault.
But this Spring/Summer 2019 show was frustrating because what was described in the programme notes as “a luminous glow” became, in the overcrowded bar, messy lighting that barely illuminated the interesting clothes.
The theme was intriguing: An inspiration of French Galle glass translated as “pearlescent colours and diaphanous textures”. I use their words, because while I could see iridescent organza, the lighting presented mainly a glare and a blur.
The professional photographs in the programme were excellent and showed the theme of sheen as a delicate and slightly decadent effect. The colours had a feeling of the turn of the last century – those “greenery-yallery” colours shifting to a pearly palette and then deep blue. The show proved in long, graceful dresses and tailored trouser suits that the designers are becoming increasingly sophisticated.
Except for designing the show for social media – a problem shared by many current designers. But this was such a fine collection, it should have spoken more clearly to its cocktail-swigging audience.