Wed, 15/02/2006 - 12:30pm
On|Off, Royal Academy Burlington Gardens, W1
A relative newcomer to LFW, Julie BerubÃ© (originally from Quebec) cut her teeth in the worlds of theatre, acting and writing before embarking on a career as a fashion designer.
This was BerubÃ©'s third off-schedule show, putting her firmly on London's fashion map. Noted for her unpretentious approach to design, she delivered a larger than expected collection focusing on natural fabrics with low-key design details.
Aside from a few technical hitches (the lights went out twice) the show went smoothly. The models were pale and aristocratic-looking with scraped back hair. No accessories were used except an oversized canvas travel bag. This was, in short, a collection of basics. Cable-knit cardigans, flippy satin skirts, city shorts, polo neck jumpers, waistcoats and smocked shirting prevailed.
BerubÃ© does, however, pay homage to the dandy (a popular reference point amongst designers so far). Frills adorn coat hemlines and collars are stiff, stand-up affairs. Necklines are also given the fancy treatment by way of more frills manipulated into rigid shapes. Black rosettes are appliquéd onto outerwear to add texture.
Some garments were positively chaste in tone. Black hooded smock tops appeared sombre when teamed with white polo necks. Structured black singlets worn with A-line plaid skirts had something of the 'choir girl' about them. The clothes are not intended for extroverts, but there lies the attraction. This quietly confident collection has a wearable aesthetic that we like.
Words: Bianca Donnelly. Photos: David Jones.