Designers Shane Gabier and Christopher Peters picked London’s Spencer House — the 18th-century mansion that belongs to Princess Diana’s family — for their first resort runway show, and the venue was a fitting choice for this rich, romantic collection with an eerie edge.
They called it Harmonium, in reference to the foot pump organ that often supplied the scary background music for vintage horror movies (and a host of far less menacing songs for the Indian cinema). “There is a slightly witchy element to the collection,” said Peters before the show, adding that the instrument was also meant to reflect the “cultural and global smudging” of the lineup, which referenced old England, pre- and post-revolutionary Russia and the supernatural fright film of Dario Argento with their moody, chiaroscuro sets. The dark oil paintings, vast crystal chandeliers and gilding around Spencer House only added to the brooding, old-world mood, enhanced by Christopher Owens singing melancholy tunes on acoustic guitar during the show.
Ribbons, black grosgrain and otherwise, wove and fluttered their way through the collection, as did ties at the bottom of wide-leg jeans and denim jumpsuits or on the sculpted sleeves of dark, Victorian-style blouses. Star-shaped brooches — reproductions of 19th-century English paste jewelry — flashed from around the neck of a pale blue dress or from the shoulders of a sleeveless cotton velvet one with a red and black bird pattern. Starburst jewels also adorned a sleek lineup of ankle boots. The richness didn’t end there: There were furs galore, as in a multicolored and pieced shaved mink coat, and hand-crocheted pieces, including a silver metallic top and silk ribbon scarf, both with a Twenties feel.
A delicate wheat flower pattern bloomed through the collection, too, balancing all that antique richness with a proletarian flavor. It covered a blouse with ribbon ties on the arm, a short nylon jacket with a fur collar and a cream-colored dress. Meanwhile, geometric patterns for knits, scarves, sweaters and mile-high gloves were based on vintage Russian wallpaper. The homey element also came through with a lineup of olive-green parkas blooming with hand-embroidered flowers based on antique botanical designs; they will be available to buy immediately on Farfetch.com, which partnered on the runway show and streamed the event live.