In the grand scheme of the fashion industry, show season is when debut a designer’s collection, presenting it to buyers and press in a story that the designers (or their team) themselves envision. There are catwalks for the more traditional approach, and presentations for those seeking something more intimate. Katie Roberts-Wood’s first show Digitalis was a catwalk, and though held within the grand arches of the Fashion Scout venue, I don’t think it showed off the intricacies of her methodical designs, which utilise skills and a mindset inherited from her time in medical school. A model will walk down the aisle, and in no longer than a minute they’ve already vanished into the dark. You miss the multi-dimensional leather lattice or the dozens of wafer thin ethereal layers. Fortunately, elements of the Roberts | Wood signature carried onto Katie’s AW16 show, which utilised the same space in an entirely different format – through dance.
The performance was a very slow, unchoreographed dance, where the models twisted and coiled like an ageing leaf. Apparently the models work in synch, where one sort of leads the way and the other dozen imitate in their own fashion. They set the pace together, working in unison to create something a little mesmerising and dramatic. It was very beautiful, and did the clothes their much deserved justice. The fabric moved with them and at no point seemed rigid, and the moss-like hair and dark dipped hands & feet felt as much in unison with the collection as the dancers themselves tried to embody. It was very poetic, and I sat watching it from the floor for the whole hour it was on. It was dark, there were the hall’s arches and gates, and the clothing was primarily black, all resulting in something that was a little haunting, as if you were walking through a fairytale swamp and the trees started moving.
Roberts | Wood was recently stocked in Dover Street Market, which I’d like to think is a good indication of where the designer could head. The clothing is intricate and interesting. It’s quite beautiful, and the performance presented its beauty in a impactful way that I’d like to think shows maturity within a designer.
I hope these bizarre photos do the show justice.
“The slowness was a very deliberate and important part of the presentation. The pieces themselves are created using very intensive, hand-constructed methods that take a really long time to make, so slowness felt like a very important element that needed to be translated right through to the presentation. We just wanted to create a little window into our world where we could slow everything down, even if only for an hour. It also felt like an antidote to the catwalk which (as you mentioned) feels like all the work and detail on display has disappeared in a flash. I wanted to create something more serene, where the clothing is allowed time to breathe in the presentation space, and hopefully to allow people to become absorbed in the atmosphere.”