FIRST TIME Tanya Carlson
and I had a proper interview, I visited her studio in Dunedin, New
Zealand and chatted for over two hours. I seem to recall that I
was one of the few who understood her latest collection, at the
time criticized by some for being too great a departure from her
rootsbut if you looked hard enough, they were there. The 1970s
glam rock image was too much to bear for those who couldn't see
Carlson's stylistic link of Victorian elegance reinterpreted and
hidden in a new context. Since then, the 1970s has recurred in Carlson
collections, but it's this latest autumnwinter 2005 collection,
Hot Orchid Night, that shows that the decade wasn't a style vacuum.emerge consistently in my work: Victorian, '30s, '70s, and a bit
of rock 'n' roll,' she told Lucire.
The collection is to be shown at Vodafone
ID Dunedin Fashion Week in mid-March.
We in the trade have seen it, plus a spin-off line called Cherry
Cotton Candy, both of which were reviewed by Alice Goulter and Clare
Marshall in Lucire December 2004. And we've allowed it to
settle in a bit more.
Now that the actual selling season has dawned,
Carlson's autumn-winter line seems rather appropriate. It could
be argued that in 2005, anything goesthe market is diverse
and segmented enough to accommodate the whim of every consumer.
But every generation thinks that. Even if we look back at the 1990s,
there is an identifiable, unified look to everything.
Hot Orchid Night revisits some of the ideas of
the 1970s, but before you write to the editor expecting a Marcia
Brady diatribe from me, hold on.
The 1970s were in fact a great decade for good
design—if you looked hard enough.
'With me, as much as I'm interested in so many
different things, there are always the same four or five ideas that
When I asked her about the 1970s being at odds
with elegance that she was trying to achieve with her multi-tiered
skirts, she replied, 'I think there was a lot of innovation and
style evident in the '70s with designers such as Yves Saint Laurent,
Halston and Lagerfeld for Chloé doing some of their best
work.' One could add other products of the 1970s: Butzi Porsche's
sunglasses, British Telecom's Trimphone, and the Intercity 125 train,
that showed that it wasn't all about flares, platform shoes and
John Travolta as a Sweathog.
'Ossie Clark is one of my inspirations for this
collection: beautiful silks and amazing prints,' said Carlson. 'I'm
inspired by the phenomenon of youth culture in the '70s.
'I wanted a chance to showcase some of the skills
in cutting and pattern-making I learned during my years of doing made-to-measure.
The collection is playful and fun, drawing from my favourite references.'
Jack Yan is founding publisher of Lucire.
more about Tanya Carlson on the 1970s, Ossie Clark and Cherry
Cotton Candy in the March 2005 print edition of Lucire,
out in New Zealand on March 7.
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