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Peter Pilotto V&A Fashion in Motion 5

Backstage at Peter Pilotto’s retrospective show at the V&A

Delve into the Austrian-Italian designer’s psychedelic world with these behind-the-scenes shots from last week’s show

Continuing its Fashion in Motion series (an initiative that brings fashion shows to the public), the V&A last week hosted a one-day only retrospective dedicated to Austrian-Italian designer Peter Pilotto. Featuring 59 looks curated by the designer and his design partner Christopher de Vos, the show charted the house’s eight-year history from SS08 to AW15 which debuted at an on-schedule London Fashion Week show earlier this year.

Whittling down looks from over ten collection is clearly a mammoth task. Backstage de Vos explained the selection process saying, “We tried to choose signature or standout items from each collection, pieces that were either popular at the time or favourites of ours.” 

Coincidentally, the futuristic prints that have become synonymous with the brand are often inspired by the various curios which line the cabinets of institutions like the V&A. “A lot of our inspiration for our collections comes from arts and artefacts, so bringing our first retrospective show to the V&A almost felt like we had gone full circle… It just made a lot of sense,” said Pilotto backstage.

“A lot of our inspiration for our collections comes from artefacts, so bringing our first retrospective show to the V&A... It just made a lot of sense” – Peter Pilotto

Naturally, finding a make-up look to complement such detailed garments can often pose a challenge; speaking backstage about the process, De Vos spoke of make-up artists and their tendency to “shy away from a strong look on the runway…” “As a result, we have always had a very natural look on our models,” he went on to say.

To make sure this wasn’t the case for the V&A, Pilotto and de Vos enlisted the help of make-up maverick Isamaya Ffrench. “We wanted to really push it as we do with our garments, and Isamaya was someone we really wanted to work with on it. She has an amazingly artistic approach to make-up and we were excited to see her interpretations of our ideas and designs.”

The result of this collaboration was a series of the house’s most iconic prints re-imagined cosmetically and recreated on the faces of models. Most importantly, Ffrench was given complete creative autonomy when deciding which particular prints would be recreated. “The purpose of additional make-up for the show was purely to enhance the prints within the collection…,” she emphasised backstage, “We chose a few key pieces and worked the print onto the face of the model.”