The origins of the word ‘escape’ are thought to be from Latin ex, meaning out of, and cappa, meaning cloak. To emerge from the dark cloak and into freedom; it’s an image that gains a new profundity in these strange and shadowy times.
For Alice Temperley, it’s more than that. It’s an intention.
Temperley creates escape through timeless artisan treasures. Through sequins dreams are woven; through painting worlds are made. This season’s world centres itself within the boiling energy and kinetic force of Swinging London in the late 1960’s, an age of optimism that moved to the rhythm of the Rolling Stones. The collection freewheels through psychedelia and Blow Up, onwards to Talitha Getty’s Marrakech home and through Bridget Riley’s op art imagination, without ever coming up for air.
A sense of movement defines the first part of the collection, with trapeze silhouettes cutting a fresh new dynamism for the Temperley woman. The Pixie story is a graphic ode to Antonioni’s Blow Up, capturing the mood of late 60s London through monochrome elements such as folded grosgrain ribbon work and lattice stitching, dotted throughout with retro daisies and crystals. The psychedelic Leonie print finds free expression on flared shapes: painted by hand, it’s inspired by agate crystals and swirled into pulsing Op Art undulations to mesmerising effect.
Temperley leitmotifs get a retro-future kick for the season: the three-piece suit rendered in fine tailored wool borrows from the lines of Sixties designers Foale and Tuffin, whilst long and lean A-line shapes such as a gold-buttoned coat and a calf length skirt are crafted in whisper-soft black nappa leather for luxurious impact. The clean optic aesthetic of the collection is continued through knitwear, with a surprise appearance from a long and languid knitted skirt suit – a new mood for Temperley with a hint of elegant nostalgia.
The escape gathers pace and threatens to become airborne with the second part of the collection, which owes its extreme levity to featherweight organdies and slip shapes, and diaphanous butterfly wings. The Butterfly print was painstakingly painted in pointillism style, with the wings gently layered into mosaic patterns that take their inspiration from Talitha Getty’s Palais de la Zahia in Marrakech. The motif – a central idea to the collection – finds its most evocative and escapist iteration on beautiful broderie anglaise wings that drift gracefully from the skirt of the Mockingbird dress. The psychedelic imaginings of Collection I are continued in the Dahlia print, printed onto silk habotai in effortless summer shapes such as a kaftan and an off-shoulder dress, and then elaborated into the Hope evening gown, a pure hallucination of an evening dress that shimmers with embroidery, sequins and tulle.
A naïve simplicity prevails in the silhouettes; shapes which are made for being on the road, on the run; onwards. Smocking appears in dresses such as the Cassidy and the Mia stories: but it’s treated with the grown-up sensuality that’s expected of Temperley, gracefully hugging the hips and waist for confident allure. Elsewhere, slip dresses create a stripped-back elegance: the Dreaming story combines a soft Chantilly lace with light georgette, panelled and pin tucked for the most flattering shape a slip dress can offer.
Simplicity is key for this next chapter. Because once you’ve found your escape, you’ve got to run with it.