Of late, my most repeatedly visited e-commerce product link goes to a matching outfit of Martina Spetlova shorts and jacket with vivid strips of ribbon woven in and out and distinctive pleated leather sleeves, both on LN-CC. The shorts happen to be culottes, a shape which I'm personally obsessed with just because you know… the bigger the shorts, the errr… bigger the brain? Ok, I'm making that up. I like big shorts and I cannot lie. On a more serious note, I've been struck by the ostensibly simple yet highly effective ribbon weaving technique, which Spetlova has honed in on for a few seasons now and so I went to see her studio, just as she was in the middle of production for her A/W 12-3 collection, which centre around that eye-catching motif of bias binding slotted in and out of leather. Ever since her memorable Central Saint Martins MA collection of bricolaged pieces of pleated leather stacked together like Lego blocks, Spetlova has been crafted away (often with her hands) at her label, experimenting with texture and textiles – Issey Miyake-esque pleating, zipper constructions, patchwork leather and now laboriously weaving satin ribbon through leather – all with the purpose of changing the structural properties of the original fabrics. When I got there, I found Spetlova and her assistant using a bent coat hanger to push strands of pale blue ribbons through leather pre-cut with positioned slits. It's lo-fi but more importantly it works.
Spetlova turns to her favoured A/W season with a collection entirely consisting of leather and knitwear pieces. There isn't a hint of monotony though. Her nappa leathers are cut up into graphic zig zag patterns providing an even more dynamic background to the satin tape woven in and out of coats, jackets and shorts. She turns to her trusty fabric pleating factory up in Edmonton (who knew such an industry existed in this area of North London suburbia) to add accordion pleats leather tops, jackets and skirts, often in unusual colour combinations and also knitted polonecks made out of a soft twisted stretchy yarn. Further texture is added with fish skin leathers and sheepskin worked into jacket collars as well as pleated silks as linings. Rather than go for lofty theme or far-removed source of inspiration, Spetlova has turned to technique as the basis for her collection, playing with the different elements as though it were a jigsaw puzzle to put together in some order of semblance. In her eyes, mustard yellow and pale blue pleated leather absolutely do go together as do pistachio leather cut with slits and black and white zig-zag patterns. In that respect, I can only heartily agree that the things that aren't supposed to work together, somehow do in the end. The jerky juxtaposition of the collection can be further seen in this video on Volt Mag, where you move the cursor to break up the movement of the model as well as the rock n' roll soundtrack.
Whilst we await the arrival of those A/W 13 pieces, her S/S 13 collection is on sale at LN-CC. I think I'll finally bite the bullet and go in this weekend to physically try things on instead of obsessively clicking away at the pieces, adding them to the basket and not proceeding to checkout. The houndstooth sheer knits made out of minofilament and lurex yarns are also a textural delight.