JOSEPH AUTUMN/WINTER 2015-16 READY-TO-WEAR LONDON
Fashion season, it bears repeating, is exhausting. Especially in winter, when you’re running around to shows in about 14 layers of clothes. London hasn’t been as mind-breakingly cold as New York, but still, the idea of huddling under a bunch of blankets has had a certain vivid sex appeal. Which made tonight’s Joseph show catnip, really: Alongside her new collection’s wide array of seriously cozy knitwear, Joseph creative director Louise Trotter sent out a variety of ensembles that mimicked—pretty exactly—the look of hefty blankets wrapped around the body for warmth. The concept was great, the execution a little on the literal side. As a retailer at the show pointed out, however, Trotter and her Joseph team do a very good job distilling their conceptual runway pieces into commercial looks; they seem to be taking a cue in that regard from Acne, another brand that shoppers rely on for high-end, gently progressive wardrobe staples. It’s not a bad strategy.
Anyway, blankets. This collection was all about cocooning, taking cover under extra-long coats or squishy thick knits that embraced the body like a hug. There was something rough-hewn about these clothes, despite the luxe fabrications—Trotter was working in a deconstructive mode that gave her shapes a certain naïveté. Still, the tailoring was rigorous, particularly in the sharp tanks that she realized in everything from wool to calf hair, and in the trousers with a perfect slouchy cut. Long, gossamer silk wrap skirts and strapless tops lightened the tone. The standout piece here, perhaps, was a bouclé knit jumpsuit in black with an elongated leg and a shawl-like top that shrugged off the shoulders. The jumpsuit expressed the cocooning theme without hammering it home. Elsewhere, Trotter was on to something with her tonal patchwork sweaters done in cable- and rib-knits. This show was heavy on the neutrals, which wasn’t a bad thing, but it made the pop of color and print in the slipdresses that came out at the end especially welcome. Trotter knows her ’90s aesthetics, and those dresses were a case study in how to pull off that decade’s insouciant look. This was a very wintry collection; those dresses, meanwhile, came off like the first balmy breath of spring.