“Conceptual, experimental, and innovative are often used to describe fashion, but no more so than during the revolution of the ’90s. Unforgettable and era-defining themes of grunge, minimalism and glam challenged convention and so beautifully combined nonchalance with elegance and classicism with asymmetry."
As a young adult, it was an era of exhilaration and pure magic. It was the era where I defined my identity through clothing – experimenting with unorthodox layering, the clashing of patterns, my father’s extreme oversized tailored jackets and dodging the status quo.
There was an innate sense that fashion was more about an attitude than anything else. Fashion absorbed pop culture like a sponge, and I idolised designers such as Commes des Garcon and Anne Demeulemeester as though it was their sole purpose to question convention.
Nothing felt stiff and everything seemingly pushed the boundaries. There was a sense of freedom that was enduring for me as an aspiring designer looking to solidify my identity.
It was an era that produced some of the most memorable style moments in sartorial history, although the spirit of unrestraint and risk-taking is what has been most lasting in my mind.
This season I wanted to reconnect with the free and uninhibited spirit of when I first started experimenting with fashion. I brought myself back to the distinct feeling of what pulled me into this world – an almost intoxicating reflex, driven by pure instinct!
Throughout the collection, there are themes of deconstruction, distortion, and juxtaposition, and there is also a discernible spirited tension between fluidity and the strictness of traditional tailoring.
I started with the girlish concept of trying on your father’s wardrobe. There is real beauty in men’s tailoring – the strictness of the fabrications, the meticulous cut, construction, and their form, however, I wanted to bring more energy, dynamism, and a playful spirit to the pieces. I looked at splicing clean slip shapes with full-bodied ribbed jersey and cumbersome utilitarian coats.
Traditional codes are dissected and reimagined to push ideas of abstract tailoring, inspiring through freedom and frivolity.
Arts et Métiers represents courage, liberation, self-expression and a pinching hunger for independence and identity. I’ve looked to bottle the essence of a spirited youthfulness – the freedom, the struggle for selfhood, the accidental beauty, and the unexpected.”
- Bianca Spender