Emilia Wickstead Spring 2023 Ready-to-Wear Collection

When Emilia Wickstead began researching ideas for the uniform and work of visual artist Man Ray, it didn’t take long to join the dots with the spirit and style of Lee Miller, a point of reference regular on Wickstead moodboards. “She is the consummate polymath: artist, muse, model, surrealist, journalist, Vogue photographer and the first female war correspondent,” Wickstead said during a preview of her collection, while she was dress models in his new store on Sloane Street. , the location of this season’s video presentation.

As Wickstead explained, this collection touched on the many facets of Miller’s career, but at the forefront of it all was his determined independence and freedom to roam these different worlds. In its most obvious form, the uniform idea was evident in oversized shirts with neat boyish collars and utilitarian flap pockets, made glamorous in the most sheer organza, and beige wide-leg pants in satin satin. silk, not everyday cotton.

Miller’s sensuality and her love affair with Man Ray were explored via off-the-shoulder forms, a glimpse of the underpinnings, and a sense of unraveling; peeling fabrics. One of the most interesting references was how Wickstead approached Miller’s pioneering photographic techniques. Miller and Ray discovered “solarization,” a process that gives photographs a ghostly, vivid, and surreal quality. Wickstead took this as a way to experiment with prints. Her painterly flowers on silk were blurred and more distorted, covered with printed organza; the effect, she noted, was as softly focused as a vaseline-coated lens. The folds were also distorted; either sewn back or falling in rebellious folds rather than rigid, linear formations.

It was a collection with all sorts of shapes and silhouettes, from tight and perfectly tailored to easy and baggy; from ultra short dresses to long and narrow dresses with trains. Others were full and skimmed to the ground. Overall it was feminine and formal, but with a spicy undercurrent of cutting edge and modernity, even a little racy at times. It’s this clever, precise balance that ensures Wickstead’s garments don’t veer too far in one direction or the other.

And there was also a great new bag. Wickstead has launched its own luxurious take on the plastic carry bag, crafted from stiff sheer gauze with silk satin piped edges. It comes in nude, black and white and its customers will surely want all three. “Whatever Miler turned her hand, she threw herself into it and did it so brilliantly,” she said. So did Wickstead, in fact: she presided over the design of its impressive terracotta and marble checkerboard store, which opened this summer. Its product offering has expanded into several categories. Beyond ready-to-wear, bespoke and bridal, there’s sleepwear, footwear, swimwear and vacation wear, and she’ll soon be launching tableware, including dinner plates. and cutlery, crystal glassware and linens. It’s a world you really want to live in.

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