Tim Hamilton belongs to a vaguely burgeoning set of established menswear designers turning their hand to developing their own womenswear designers - Damir Doma and Thom Browne are beginning to establish their womenswear codes and Hamilton now has four seasons under his belt. However, with this S/S 11 collection, he has purposely co-ordinated both of his womenswear and menswear collections together to present a cohesive message. This isn't to be confused with unisex clothes swapping but that the themes, motifs and aesthetics are matched up in the menswear and womenswear.
It was never going to be a typically feminine vision from Hamilton but this collection rigorously enforces what Hamilton explores in his menswear collection which is a gradual and subtle build up of texture in tones that are soothing for a season rife with brights. I suppose I'm balancing out my love of the acid hues with something calmed down - in this instance, it's Hamilton's white on white pairing, tones of navy, grey, khaki and green.
These tones are livened up though with the textures and fabrics that Hamilton has chosen, something I guess I can only appreciate for now at a distance. Going by text descriptions though is enough to stir up imagination - paper, linen, gauze, silk, Cupro (a lightweight material that is like rayon) and dry cotton - are worked into cuts that are deliberately assymetrical. Belgian artist Michaël Borremans provides the initial starting point for the collection's juxtaposition between being utilitarian and luxurious. I particularly like the diagonal lines which cut into pieces with geometric precision.
The palette is streamlined, the better to explore its extremes. Hamilton speaks of the beauty of neutral tonal pairing: the cleansing, almost blinding purity of layering white on white. At the opposite end of the spectrum, there is the blackest of blacks, the result of research at a Japanese mill that specializes in dark dyeing. Primal Navy and white are complemented by grays, khakis and greens.
Hamilton not showing his womenswear collection in an official capacity has much to answer for this development. "It has progressed in a paired down sort of way, I knew I was not doing a show this season so in nature it become more utility and accessible. It really is a way of simple dressing. I also never worked with such a light clean palette which took me out of my black moments. I've heard lots of positive feedback on how less is more from the assortment of the collection to the clean lines." Hopefully that feedback is reflected in his work becoming more available.
When the womenswear is seen side by side with its men's counterpart, the story becomes even more complete and in a perverse way, I'm kind of buying into wearing head to toe Tim Hamilton with Steve at my side doing the same - stop me before this mad act comes to pass.