New design: the sexy insouciance of Alexander Lewis
If Alexander Lewis isn’t on your fashion radar yet, he will be. Protege of American Vogue editor-at-large Andre Leon Talley, his is a sophisticated offering, fusing razor-sharp tailoring with a sexy insouciance. His zest for life derives from a peripatetic upbringing: part German-American, part Panamanian-Brazilian, Lewis was born in Chicago, schooled at Harrow and graduated from the University of Southern California before moving to London.
No wonder that the woman who wears his clothes is a cultured minx, who can both ‘move to the samba beat of Brazil - and embody the tailored elegance of London.’
Global sensibilities make for beautiful clothes. Take pre-fall 2014, where an East LA Chicano influence helped create the covetable but out of stock ‘Mamacita’ knit.
Pre-Fall 2015, pictured here, is inspired by a ‘woman once bound by her orthodox upbringing who comes to fuse her conservative past with the modernity of a well-travelled pan-Middle-Eastern and bohemian lifestyle.’
How does this translate? Into visual contrast. Seemingly modest velvet tops are cropped to reveal the midriff; pencil skirts and short pleated skirts toy with the idea of not-quite modesty. Pomegranate-inspired motifs, symbolic to the Middle East, are hand-woven into sheer fabrics.
Covered up, but gently exposed, the Pre-Fall 2015 woman is a subtle creature.
Fabrics are developed in-house with flair and imagination. Take the shirt dress below, from Resort 15, a collection inspired by the slow luxury of Palm Springs: demure but cut from a structured, iridescent and vaguely see-through organza. A wool crepe mini-skirt in sunlit pastels depicts the birds-eye view of a golf course sand trap as geometric print. Even a linen playsuit features curved panels that imitate the shape of fairways.
Two years at Californian vintage haute couture boutique Decades awakened a passion for ‘lost’ techniques and the precise philosophies of tailoring in Lewis, skills honed later as a pattern cutter on Savile Row and Head of Brand at E Tautz.
Creative partnerships abound. When, in 2014, when Lewis debuted his first mainline collection, he invited Marie Angeletti to respond to early research for the collection. The French artist presented her results as photographs, which were then woven into jacquard cloth and printed onto fabric. Pre-Fall 2015 sees flamboyant milliner Piers Atkinson create pseudo-conservative felt boaters. Californian jewellers, Alex and Lee created a series of macramé collars, cuffs and belts collaged with semi-precious stones and found objects.