Taking inspiration from the short lives of flowers, Apu Jan presented Before the Last Petal Falls for Spring Summer 2018 at London Fashion Week. In this collection of 33 garments, Jan uses bursts of colour and texture variation to freeze their explosive beauty and capture the sensation of urgency in their short but fragrant life. The collection pays homage to O Henry’s ‘The Last Leaf’ and echoes the theme of Edgar Allen Poe’s ‘The Fall of the House of Usher’. It was also the first show of the SS18 season that saw Freemason’s Hall open up the Grand Temple – something that rarely happens during London Fashion Week and an absolutely unbelievable spectacle when it does.
‘Before the last petal fell, I remembered there was a garden in full blossom ;
Before the last leaf faded, I remembered there was a forest full of green ;
The last snowflake, the last sand grain, the last teardrop…
Nothing gold can stay.
So let me cast a spell for you, it’s necessary to freeze the beauty of flowers, it’s necessary to freeze the fragrance of coffee, and it’s necessary to freeze the fragrance of our youth…’
Using pattern to emote throughout the collection, ‘Before the Last Petal Falls’ takes us on a fantasy journey. With motifs and patterns including blooming and fallen petals, leaves, trees, snow, ink, and manuscripts, the components play to the theme and the brands core elements of storybooks and fantasy beasts are evident throughout the collection.
The SS18 collection from Apu Jan features more of the designer’s trademark silk knitting which stands out in texture, Jan uses a self developed blend of jacquard and chiffon and varies between machine and hand knitting to create that signature and inimitable mix of chunky and uber fine texture all within the same garment – perfect for the intended season.
Strong oriental influences ring through this collection; mandarin collars, horse-hoof cuffs and 6/8 wide leg trousers with a wide set pinstripe set up the core shapes for a neutral palette of grey, black, white and grey with the occasional dancing pink petal dancing across the landscape. Towards the finale we saw drop waist and empire line dresses with structured cape detailing imitating orchid type silhouettes and depicting the last stages of life of the flower, and burnout dresses with flute sleeves with a hint of Victoriana. The standout piece in the collection was a grey dress with a structured capelet that drew gasps from the press as it floated through the temple.
Apu Jan is a master craftsman when it comes to working with printed satin; taking the finest print details and working them into a pattern only determinable at close range, which from afar creates additional texture and shape despite having been crafted in the lightest fabrics.
The show was set to the beat of DJ QuestionMark and a live orchestra, something that’s been lost in time over the seasons at London Fashion Week and something which created a real atmosphere on the day. I don’t know whether it was the design talent, the live music or being seduced by the Grand Temple but this was one collection that piqued my interest Voyeurs…..