Hours before their Somerset House presentation, palmer//harding invite us into their world and offer a behind-the-scenes preview of autumn/winter 13.
Click images to enlarge.
“Quiet, beauty, intelligent, sculptural and emotional” are just a few words that gently and effortlessly tumble from the mouths of Levi Palmer and Matthew Harding when asked to describe their label, palmer//harding. One or two might be uttered in Palmer’s soft Texas twang, the others might be in Harding’s London tone but they are often heard as one. Just hours away from unveiling their autumn/winter 13 collection in a Thomas Bird crafted world inside Somerset House, the label’s voice could not be more entwined or clear.
From their home and studio base in Rickmansworth the design duo work tirelessly on their quest for intricate perfection to that oft neglected and taken for granted garment, the shirt. Since its accomplished debut in September 2011, palmer//harding have created men’s and women’s collections that encompass the combined aesthetic, passion, skill and international experience of the design duo.
Their’s has always been a label that revels and excels in the realms of duality. Simple yet complex. Restrained yet free. Feminine yet masculine. Traditional yet innovative. The latest collection sees the pair antagonise, tease and provoke these conflicts while finding a quiet and relaxed haven where the opposites are mastered through innovative cutting, considered detailing, new proportions and sumptuous embroidery and fabrics. “For this season, we began with this idea of contrasts. Playing with opposites from dirty and clean, austere and romantic, structured and free, voluminous and sleek,” Palmer purrs. “It’s conflict that we face all the time as a duo. We are always looking to strike the balance of both of our worlds to form a new world together. This season has been the best exploration of that,” Harding confidently reflects.
Of course, the pair continue their exploration in directional design to the classic shirt but there’s a definite sense of evolution. New garments including skirts, a trouser, jumper and winter jacket in an array of luxurious fabrics provided by Supima, create the perfect foil for the wonderfully tactile and perfectly sculpted shirting made from the finest cotton from Cotton USA. “Adding more pieces, freed us in the shirt design because we can create and offer the wardrobe. It allows them to become whatever it wants and we can design what compliments it.”
“The collection begins quite austere but becomes quite fluid. In a way it’s a metaphor of our personal journeys. We, well myself in particular, are quite controlled and we’re learning to let go a bit more, allowing everything to be what they’re going to be.” Letting go has allowed the pair to arrive somewhere special.
Text: Steve Salter
Images: Anna Fearon