This season, designer Charlotte Knowles presented her final collection shown with the support of Fashion East. The collection brings a new mode of toughness to Knowles’ manifestation of femininity, moving away from last season’s swimwear fantasies into a more brutal winter reality.
For Autumn/Winter 2019, presented on London Fashion Week, the Central Saint-Martins graduate brings her woman into the ‘real world’, developing her ready-to-wear language into a more comprehensive wardrobe.
Checks appear across wools and technical fabrics, conveying the weight of heritage and spirit of counter-culture. Patterns, textures and floral prints give the illusion of embossing and plastic coating but entirely digital, while fine Lycra is screen-printed with a 3D binder reminiscent of the anti-slip technical rubber on bras and undergarments.
This season Charlotte Knowles introduces her version of tailoring – form fitting, minimal, and fluid. Key tailoring points include: invisible zip pockets, raglan sleeves, while trousers come flared with the same fluid cut and a crotch gusset evocative of running trousers. Dresses combine sharp function with comfort and coats incorporate exterior inseam pockets and concealed interior patch pockets for women’s tools. The designer also recreats the hyper-sexualised push-up bra and mini-skirt, recreating them with outerwear wadding à la puffer jackets. The vulnerable becomes the protector as underwear becomes armour.
For accessories, the Fang bag from last year reappears in reinforced leather, and shoes are angular and latex-dipped. The jewellery is a collaboration between Florence Tétier and Freeka Tet. It is organic and forceful, partly a set of moveable and combinable magnetic pieces that can be clustered or connected as the wearer sees fit and melted combs and other recycled objects tangled into the hair and clothes.
Charlotte Knowles continues to explore codes of femininity this season. For her, female empowerment goes beyond women wearing suits: she is, instead, creating the wardrobe for a new world order, for what future femininity could be.