Emerging design talent has always struck a chord of fascination with me – as I’m sure I’ve preached countless times before now, fresh and less routine minds tend to push the boundaries before being reigned in to commercial viability. To that effect, I agree less with the industry’s tendency towards pigeonholing these up-and-comers on a bottom wrung, and more with, say, Farfetch‘s distinct categorisation as ‘Lab’ or ‘Contemporary’, which, though slightly biased on price point, is largely based on aesthetics vs target market. Let’s be honest: most innovative designers now are not on a mission to build their eponymous labels up to be luxury houses, though a Creative Director’s contract with one such superpower would grant another wrung of credibility.
London’s fashion community seems to be more open to this blurring of the new kids and the big kids – talent is talent, and a vibrant imagination is well recognised, even if it’s beyond Lady Gaga.
And so we come to tonight’s Veronica Beard presentation upstairs at The Highline Hotel, which, until now, I’d never come across – and now that I have, I’d very much like to stay in (or at least shoot in its gloriously creepy Gothic interiors). Veronica and Veronica, too, I’d only briefly encountered as 2013 CFDA Fund finalists. I have always found some unconventional thrill in going into a creative environment completely blind.
For the Veronicas, the intrigue was mostly tactile. Between narrowly quilted leathers, textured camouflage print, tasselled brocade, and the shiniest (oh the shiniest) of shoes. I wanted to touch everything, in the least inappropriate way possible, to try things on, to see how certain silhouettes would look on my body, and to wine and dine in them in the elaborate room that housed the collection – quite a powerful reaction, you might say, most likely helped along by the presentation structure, allowing you to circle the line-up three times over, visualise separates in and amongst your own wardrobe, and more than five seconds of power-walking to consider the technique that would go into an origami leather peplum, say, or a folded neckline I’ve never seen before.
I would love to see how a label as craftsmanship-focused as Veronica Beard would fare in a challenge such as The Woolmark Prize, where many designers struggle given their dependence on minimalism, for example, which has not, in the past, translated too well with the competition’s panels, and of which the Veronicas’ work is quite the opposite.
All the same, if the CFDA says Veronica Beard is the go, and if megababe Chelsea Leyland is their go to DJ lady, then it’s fairly likely that they will, at the very least, join the SUNO’s, Ohne Titel’s, and Jonathan Simkhai’s of the world in a well studied celebration of being a cool kid on this New York City block.
What do you all think?
All I can think about is that leather jacket and those shoes!