In just three short seasons, Katie Hillier and Luella Bartley – who were previously at the helm of Marc by Marc Jacobs before it shuttered – have carved out a niche for grown-up whimsy, creating looks that, most importantly, they would want to wear.
“The motivation comes from my personal identity crisis and confusion with growing up into middle age womanhood,” explained one half of the duo, Luella Bartley. For the SS18 collection – that was inspired by Sarah Lucas (whose images dominated the moodboard) – this is no different, with playful elements like animal prints, bunny handbags and fishnet tight material layered over tailoring making up the looks.
“We got particularly interested in the symbolism of fabrics this season, the weight of a man’s Savile Row suit and the strange femininity of hosiery,” said Bartley. “So the inspiration came from that and the idea of using both extremes together.” The result produced masculine silhouette suits in striking gold or lilac, and camel coats with tufts of fur appearing out of the collar.
For the campaign – photographed by David Sims, with art direction from Dazed’s Jamie Andrew Reid – the idea was to capture the “perversity, playfulness and innocence of it all,” according to Bartley. The accompanying video – with animation and sound by Eddie Whelan – is equally fun. Instead of the typical steely fashion gaze, the model appears looking inquisitively or confused into the ether.
“As I said it evolves with our personal preoccupation with femininity and identity and character, the age-old question of womanhood and style and what it means and why we care,” mused Bartley on the future of the brand. Wherever it goes next, there is no doubt that having fun will be the main objective.