“Sometimes, freedom is about individual choice and a concrete situation rather than a purely abstract ideal, especially when it involves the pursuit of creative interests or even personal development”.
This is what palmer//harding found when designing their SS17 collection. Choosing to make more time for themselves, they actually had more room to process ideas or sparks of imagination generated whilst working. Matthew King’s artwork, Americana and a fascination with vaporwave music (anti-capitalist and anonymous) mingle here with power dressing, languid layers and urban living.
Another aspect of freedom within the collection is achieved by incorporating joyous volume and slightly exaggerated proportions. Long, loose silhouettes dominate with asymmetric sleeves or an oversized cuff, plus robe-like belting to cinch it all in, while a sense of movement is evoked by cascading hems, wraparound details and powerful, flowing shirts, the palmer//harding mainstay.
The colour palette and textures are laidback and have a nostalgic feel, but with a graphic edge, with stripe patterns inspired by Matthew King’s 2015 Utah series. Muted red, chambray, sky blue, navy, olive, cinnamon and sand are the collection’s key colours. The choice of natural, almost “basic” fabrics is deliberate and then lifted through layering and movement. Cotton poplin and chambrays are used mainly for the shirting, while micro-corduroy, water-repellent twill and fine, gauzy cotton knits add layers of intrigue as outerwear or versatile shawls. Skirts and trousers are cleverly cut with overlapping patterns which expose the body underneath as you move. A mixture of limed oak and silver jewellery ground the looks with a subtle nod to sea-worn wood and metal.
The collection continues palmer//harding’s experimentation in functional layering, a notion the duo first explored for AW16. The lightness of the fabrics certainly makes each piece easy to layer and incorporate into any wardrobe, but SS17 also heralds the idea of fashion being multi-seasonal, one of the buzzwords of this year’s fashion weeks, both in New York and London. A liberating concept in one way, but also an honest reflection of the modern woman’s everyday needs.