• Photography Harry Carr
  • 18th September 2016

Seven states

At Phoebe English, seven models stood in a frozen tableau, each a figure in their own scene: the archer, posed with bows and arrows over a pile of sticks and apples, signifies shock; a water bearer pouring water from a glass beaker into plastic buckets is a metaphor for crying; a smuggler signifies lying; and the enquirer with rolls of paper and a stamp is a truth hunter; the strangler knotting rope is anxiety; the chanter signifies protesting; and the veiled mourner represents loss. And so, the collection was themed around these seven moods.

“My collections often stem from abstract origins such as a particular type of process or a feeling; this method aims to infuse my work with a conceptual aesthetic, offering luxury through idea,” said English of her approach, which sees her put concept and detail first. The designer’s fixation with “construction rather than decoration” was also glaringly apparent. Woven fabrics were layered and draped with contrasting styling, then strapped or tied at the waist and back. Paper planes also lined the floor, feeling like a topical comment made by English – one that, along with the seven figures in the room, reflects the shifting state of the country post-Brexit.