AT LIBERTY: William Banks-Blaney launched his first ready-to-wear collection, designed in collaboration with London department store Liberty, on Thursday night.
In the store’s dark wood-paneled Heritage Suite, mannequins and rails had been set up to show the clothes, which riff on the clean lines of the Sixties, a favorite era for Banks-Blaney, whose WilliamVintage business deals in vintage couture dresses to a high-profile clientele.
There are eight pieces in the William for Liberty collection, done in fine silks and wools in a palette of white, hot pink, navy and camel. Everything has been made in a London design atelier using hand-finishing techniques, including couture darting, ruching and seaming methods.
Special attention has been paid to details such as making sure there’s a generous seam allowance to allow for alterations’ cutting the legs of gently flared trousers slightly bigger to allow for the toned legs modern women who work out; zip-front closures of a shift dress to make to for ease of dressing; and pockets in most pieces – “everybody loves a pocket,” noted Banks-Blaney.
Standout pieces include a long fuchsia column dress with fine platinum Lurex panels at the sides, cut to allow a wide split from ankle to upper thigh, and wool capes in snowy white or navy.
Banks-Blaney was granted access to the Liberty archive, where he chose a kaleidoscope print from 1961 to use in the linings of the coats and capes, and in a silk shirt with a tie-neck collar, cut long enough to allow the wearer to fashion a man’s necktie.
“It’s been designed with our kind of woman in mind. You know, 20 percent rock star, 80 percent impeccable,” said Banks-Blaney, who added that a ready-to-wear collection had been in the cards for a while. “It had been brewing my head for a couple of years to create a collection that is a mix of what I love in vintage and what I love in fashion, and the particular vintage pieces that would move really quickly when we found them. And my sweet spot — which is late Sixties couture, when couture got cool again — coincided with that.”
The collection is available from Nov. 2, with prices starting from 395 pounds, or $608 at current exchange, for a pair of trousers, to 995 pounds, or $1,532, for a coat or cape.