Given that previous John Alexander Skelton shows took place in the basement of St. Pancras Church and in the shadowy corners of the Century Fleet Street pub, it’s easy to think of band A designer with a certain Dickensian melancholy. But while Skelton often tends to weave rich and dramatic yarns in his collections, the essence of his allure lies in the clothes themselves – hold one of his shirts or tailored trousers in hand, the extraordinary craftsmanship and timelessness The textiles look and feel as eye-catching as any of his runway glasses.
Hence why it is especially cheering to see Skelton gravitated towards something lighter and brighter this season – it’s even better to let his star work shine. There are oddities throughout the series Polka dots, seersucker stripes and slouchy scarves embellished with patterned thistles, while an exceptionally bright color scheme ran across everything from intense scarlet to lively French blue. “My clothes have a certain mood, and can be a little dark at times,” admits Skelton. “I felt the need to do something more uplifting. Really, I design things because I want to wear them, and I’m really just thinking about what I want to wear in the summer.”
However, this wouldn’t be the Skelton series without some backstory. In previous collections he has explored a thread of British folk history, starting with Neolithic sites in the Orkney Islands. Here, that translated into gorgeous botanical woodblock prints and horticultural embroidery, which spread their tentacles across shirts and cardigans. This time, though, the spirit of the outdoors is deeply rooted in the present day, and more specifically, in the growing allotment appeal.
“After last season, I’ve been thinking about people’s connection to nature and how it benefits society as a whole,” Skelton explained. “I wondered: how is this possible in the modern context?” (The Lookbook was taken by Skelton’s ongoing collaborator William Waterworth in a community garden on the outskirts of Herne Hill, from which there are panoramic views of London – in Skelton’s words, the place Both “tranquil and far from the city”.)
On closer inspection, Skelton’s inverted instincts become apparent. The utilitarian fabrics you might associate with workwear or gardening—hardy canvas and chino, for example—were replaced by blazers and pleated trousers cut into smart looks. Meanwhile, more refined fabrics such as silks and artisanal linens were used for more utilitarian pieces such as scarves and jumpsuits. “If I actually tried to do a collection based on gardening, it would be boring,” comments Skelton. “I like to disrupt things and use fabrics that don’t serve their usual intended purpose. I like that tension.” Even in Skelton’s Garden of Eden, there’s something subversive at work—in his alchemical hands, It produced pleasing results immediately.