A collaboration with artist Laurie Simmons brings out Jensen's former whimsical self.
It was completely apt that Peter Jensen after many seasons of showing on the catwalk finally decided to present his latest collection at a beautiful terrace overlooking Pall Mall. You are immediately charmed by models walking around the salon in 50s inspired Doris Day-esque ensembles that have that Jensen touch of whimsicality and cuteness with underlying depth. Then comes the big collaborator, inspirant and muse - artist Laurie Simmons who photographed the clothes in miniature form that were then superimposed on a large-scale dollhouse installation on live models. The result is a series of photographs that heavily plays with proportions and notions of well-to-do and wholesome Americana. It was a transatlantic collaboration for Jensen and Simmons and when Jensen got the photos back from Simmons, he was completely blown away. To have the collection dedicated to Simmons and to trust her so implicitly as a collaborator was Jensen's strength this season. We speak to both of them about working together.
Dazed Digital: I heard you came across Laurie Simmons work in a book that was given to you as a gift - what was it about specifically about her work that attracted you?
Peter Jensen: The first thing was that I found this book by an American millionairess in the 40s that had done these dolls for unsolved murder mysteries. They were used for the police to solve crimes. I knew that I wanted to do something with dolls because I had been collecting Sindy clothing for a while. Then I found Laurie's work and she had a much more modern approach to what I wanted to do. And I thought if she wanted to be involved that would be the greatest thing in the world.
DD: It's interesting that Laurie was a muse as well as a collaborator - how did she inform the aesthetic of the clothes?
Peter Jensen: We went through the book and there were loads of references. For instance, a top is printed with a wallpaper that was from a photograph in her book. We then scaled the whole collection down and then sent all those clothes to Laurie and she then photographed them within her environment. I wanted a very 50s feel to everything and and many of Laurie's interviews, she talks about her 50s upbring.
DD: How does doing a presentation compare to showing on catwalk?
Peter Jensen: I didn't feel like doing a traditional catwalk show with this particular collection. Seeing things on the catwalk, people see things in a different way and some things are lost. With a presentation I can talk to people about it and people can walk around and really explore it.
DD: How did you react when Peter proposed the collaboration?
Laurie Simmons: I kind of knew his name but didn't feel familiar with his work and really studied everything online. I love that he thinks outside the box and the more I found out, the more interested I was in collaborating with him.
DD: How did you devise the collaboration process?
Laurie Simmons: We came up with the idea of making the clothes in miniature. The clothes arrived on a Tuesday night and I let the clothes speak to me to inform the process and so we spent Wednesday creating this imaginary dollhouse and by Thursday night, the fantasy was over. I usually don't work that quickly and it was really intense!
DD: How does it feel to have a collection dedicated to you?
Laurie Simmons: I'm a little stunned actually as on paper it all seemed great but actually being here and seeing it all is really fantastic.