Wed, 15/02/2006 - 6:30pm
On|Off, Royal Academy of Arts, Burlington Gardens, W1
Ex-RCA graduates Hilde Rubecksen and Tomoko Yamanaka (Norwegian and
Japanese respectively) are the driving force behind this label. Having
previously worked for Gucci, Marks and Spencer, Nicole Farhi, and
Pringle, they have experience designing for both designer markets and
the high street.
This was their third off-schedule show. Entitled 'Knitted Wilderness'
the inspiration was derived from Amish simplicity (think Harrison Ford
in the 1985 film Witness), animals, elements of traditional menswear,
lingerie and the work of installation artist Mark Dion. This melting
pot of influences would suggest an eclectic collection of sartorial
extremes. Not so. Although the collection is small, the work is in
actual fact coherent and well put together. The colour palette was
muted yet complementary in shades of cream, pink, beige, silver,
charcoal and black.
Feminine garments with a masculine twist dominated throughout.
Stand-out pieces for us include dusty pink high-waisted trousers with
braces and a silvery grey drop waist dress - worn 1920's style with
Jean Harlow hair. Velvet shorts (silver grey again) were cute when
teamed with fine cashmere knits. Grey flannel trousers (combined with
more dusty pink knitwear) have a timeless elegance. Models possessed an
air of 'proper' ladies attending an early 20th century finishing
school. The mood was refined and oozed etiquette.
Outerwear comes in the guise of matt black overcoats with interesting
details on the lapels. Knitted jackets were also showcased alongside
incredibly wearable cotton tulle shirt dresses. Old fashioned
accessories included wool stockings, girdles and garters. I wouldn't
describe the work as unconventional, but it is very sweet and well
Words: Bianca Donnelly. Photos: David Jones.