LONDON, September 18, 2015
by Aimee Farrell
Jean-Pierre Braganza invited some serious toe-tapping this afternoon in London. The British-born Canadian designer spent his summer between the research rooms of the British Library and the blank canvas of his studio, listening to jazz greats from Charles Mingus to John Coltrane. But their freewheeling musical influence found its form not in the brightly-lit looks that made their way down the runway, but in Braganza’s improvisational approach to designing them. “I never liked jazz when I was growing up,” he said backstage. “But now, the fact that it’s so structured and yet so chaotic really fascinates me.” That frenetic spirit translated into endless draping and deconstruction: Hems were left undone and suits were radically reconfigured with entire panels left to hang loose. This may all sound wildly experimental, but, in fact, these clothes will do nothing to alienate Braganza’s eternal muse, that all-powerful female who, on this front row lineup, was embodied by the spiral-curled British songstress Ella Eyre.
The show found its headiest form in digital print dresses that drew on the visual style of the Bauhaus. But, come next spring, the real standouts will be the series of white zip-skirted coats and crepe trench coats worn over diaphanous duchesse satin dresses. All were subtle, understated, and executed with a lighter-than-air finesse. As an aside, there was a message in the fact that Braganza had eschewed his usually extensive show notes this time around. “You guys are going to hate me,” he said with a smile to the gaggle of journalists waiting backstage. “I want you to use your cerebral abilities to see the story for yourselves.” Well, perhaps because of the show’s title, “Whiplashed,” which was taken from the Oscar-winning Miles Teller movie (tap, tap, tap), there’s one word that immediately springs to mind: upbeat.
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