lfw: join us for christopher raeburn's spring/summer 15 ascent
Feeling like an immersive experience at the Imperial War Museum, i-D sat listening to planes fly by as the rows filled up and warmed up for Christopher Raeburn's beautiful spring/summer 15 womenswear collection.
With an 'ASCENT' theme, the lightness and freedom of flight shone through in the military fabrics and oversized silhouettes; ultimately creating something delicate and feminine out of something very masculine. Meteorological maps on bombers and dresses led the way, as muted Japanese floral prints found themselves on hoodies, and pink 50s parachutes-turned-jackets softly soared down the catwalk and into our hearts. Girls wore backpacks and sports sandals; always ready for a very stylish trek through the arid Arizona desert.
Congratulations on a stunning collection! So, is the map print taken from an actual map?
They're aeronautical maps, which ties in with the desert theme. They're actually of weather systems which really allowed us to play with the colours and bring something really feminine to it.
Talking of which, the collection seems a lot more feminine than previous seasons...
Yeah, there's been a real focus on it. I'm really proud to be showing in the main space and to have that sort of capacity and to be growing the range. We're five years old now and it's been such a good opportunity to see what works for the business. I'm really pleased that you've highlighted the femininity, because that was totally the focus for this season, thank you.
Everything is functional as well as beautiful. Not enough designers appreciate that need…
Yeah, practicality and functionality… there's so much behind these fabrics and we were really keen to make sure we have things that are a bit special.
You told me before about a particular military fair you go to… did you find anything in particular that inspired any of these pieces?
Yeah, I bought the fighter jet suits this season! They were used by the Russian and Chinese military in the 1960s/70s to stop the pilot bursting at negative G. Originally they were a dark green colour but we've dyed them and completely deconstructed them; mixing them in with the silk organza but keeping the original detailing. I love using very masculine fabrics and masculine things and hopefully producing something really very feminine. I think by mixing with the silk organza it really makes it something special and to completely re-appropriate it in this way I find it very exciting.
The pink jackets are lovely, and quite bright for you!
They're original 1950s British parachutes. We haven't overdyed them; they came this colour. They used it for dropping supplies. But what's so unique is that it kind of has this iridescence and seems very modern and so we wanted to use it in a different way.
Tell us a little about the Japanese influence...
This is an interesting fabric… we worked with a Japanese company called Komatsu and it's kind of a weathered down floral - working in with the desert and Arizona themed. We wanted to bring in a bit of balance to the print story as well. It's lightweight and has a sort of paper touch.
Text Francesca Dunn