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Suzy Menkes

Vogue International Editor Suzy Menkes is the best-known fashion journalist in the world. After 25 years commenting on fashion for the International Herald Tribune (rebranded recently as The International New York Times), Suzy Menkes now writes exclusively for Vogue online, covering fashion worldwide.

Peter Pilotto’s Northern Lights

The design duo channel Norse mythology into a bravura display of inventive technique and exquisite colouring

24 Февраля 2016

Peter Pilotto, fall 2016 ready-to-wear
Peter Pilotto, fall 2016 ready-to-wear

“A wintery landscape, an open sky, a deep chill and initially the shades of brown until artificial-looking colours took over and the snow fell and it became lighter and frozen.”

That was the poetic description of the inspiration for the show by the Austrian-Italian Peter Pilotto and Belgian-Peruvian Christopher de Vos — the designers behind Peter Pilotto.

Their fabrics included leather and thick wool glazed with chenille embroidery and shimmering diaphanous knits. It was fascinating to look at the clothes backstage and see how the swirling, kinetic patterns, which conjured Viking myths, had been applied.

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Peter Pilotto, fall 2016 ready-to-wear

Peter Pilotto, fall 2016 ready-to-wear

Peter Pilotto, fall 2016 ready-to-wear

Peter Pilotto, fall 2016 ready-to-wear


“We translated these poetic motifs into chenille embroidery,” Peter said. “We also wanted to print in a very simple, naïve way to benefit from the lightness of the fabric,” added Christopher. “We kept the shapes very simple — almost as if they were stamped by hand or if you had drawn the pattern yourself.”

Another striking aspect of the collection was the variety of textures, often with layered effects as if gazing at something just seen below the ice. “We were pursuing an abstract, Nordic landscape with almost-pagan motifs,” said Christopher. “Like a graphic translation of natural phenomena,” Peter elaborated. “Our collections are a constant dialogue,” Peter explained. “It’s quite funny because the collections often start with a trip we actually make. This collection was from a trip we’ve been dreaming about.” 

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Peter Pilotto, fall 2016 ready-to-wear

Peter Pilotto, fall 2016 ready-to-wear

Peter Pilotto, fall 2016 ready-to-wear

Peter Pilotto, fall 2016 ready-to-wear


Christopher revealed it was one the duo never made, “We were like, ‘We should go!’ but we didn’t. So we started playing with all the imagery instead: icebergs and beautiful Nordic paintings and Norwegian pullovers and all those traditional patterns.” “It was important for us to really tell a story,” said Peter, “express an emotion, and find new ways to make the artwork and silhouette interact so there’s a sensation of surface movement.”

Mixed backgrounds abound in London, where international students, drawn to British colleges, produce clothes rich in multi-cultural references. The Peter Pilotto duo has followed that route.

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Peter Pilotto, fall 2016 ready-to-wear, details

Peter Pilotto, fall 2016 ready-to-wear, details

Peter Pilotto, fall 2016 ready-to-wear, details

Peter Pilotto, fall 2016 ready-to-wear, details


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