Text by Veronika Dorosheva
Jamie Wei Huang is an up-and-coming fashion designer from Taiwan, currently based in London, UK. Jamie’s background in Fine Art influences her work as a fashion designer and allows her to create very conceptual yet wearable garments. Sharp tailoring and an androgynous look are her signatures. She uses high quality natural fabrics in her collections and she always gives special attention to the details.
Jamie presented her second collection during London Fashion Week this season. Her AW 2014 collection is entitled “Ballade No. 1 G OP. 23”. The title refers to Chopin’s classic piano piece, which has been used as a soundtrack in Roman Polanski’s “The Pianist” (2012). The movie, particularly the destiny of refugees, was the major inspiration for the collection that resulted in essential silhouettes, warm and solid materials, the usage of post-war functional details such as patch pockets, tool belts, zips and buckles that became an integral part of the garments.
“It’s all about warmth and wrapping up”, says Jamie. According to that, the models paraded the catwalk wearing mink armbands on the right arm – a nod to Jewish refugees from Polanski’s movie, who had been forced to wear white armbands with star of David depicted on them, – warm double-sided (navy blue & black) hats with flaps, and leather & fur balaclavas. Some extra protection for the neck was provided through shearling and mink collars, as well as from warm angora scarves.
It was a bit of a challenge to translate a vintage story and such a great movie like “The Pianist” into fashion in contemporary way, the designer admits.
Nevertheless Jamie Wei Huang proved with her AW 2014 collection that she is one of the best storytellers in contemporary fashion, one who is able to transform abstract ideas such as human dignity, individuality and confidence into real garments, playing with fabric contrasts, with textures and tailoring, and silhouettes. Jamie added edgy details to classic silhouettes like tool belts and patch pockets to classic tailored suits, and luxury finishing to cozy, functional pieces: heavy coats and boxy jackets were worn over silk dresses and wide-legged silk trousers.
In terms of color, the designer avoided the military green that would be a too obvious choice for the WW II inspired theme of the collection. She instead used deep blue, white and grey as the dominant colors, highlighted with rare splashes of cherry red and blush pink.
Even though the collection included some dresses and skirts, the overall mood of the collection was unisex. The key pieces were coats and jackets that can be worn equally well by men and by women.
The collection was showcased at Tranoi Femme Paris Tradeshow from February 28th to March 3rd.