Lambeth Garden museum is suspended for a few quiet minutes; the scent of a Church fills the open space, as a soundtrack of upbeat reggae blasts from hidden speakers and the first few looks from the Jamie Wei Huang AW/19 collection stomp down the stairs and zig-zag around the room. Luxe travel and chunky knits are key in Jamie’s new work: platform sandals that allow you to run through Heathrow terminals with a little height, and blue knitwear in all colours of the ocean.
This is not a collection filled with too much detail; there is no tulle or chiffon here (though that is never a bad thing). These are clothes designed for the Soho teenagers who want modern silhouettes with a little droplet of glamour – see the houndstooth ripped skirts or jam red vinyl boots. You can mix and match anything from these looks. Yes, they are young, as evidenced in the school test style programme placed on school benches for seats, but who is counting years here? Satin silver trousers can be worn by anyone, but it’s up to you if you want to pair them with metal chainmail earrings, as seen on the models. As per Jamie’s outlook, there is a clear sense of clean outlines here, with some masculinity in the tailoring and styling. This collection straddles la jeunesse and le sportif pretty nicely, but not without a generous helping of blush. A special mention must go to the lurex knits, which glisten as the light hits them, clementine oranges and baby blues sparkling all the way down the stairs and across the floor.
The luxury womenswear label Jamie Wei Huang has a modern outlook, but with a twist. Jamie herself is a painter and artist, having won various prizes for her artwork, as well as being a finalist of the Taiwan Nation Large-Sized oil paintings competition. This painterly quality is present in her new collection, with a characteristic flair being expressed through mixed materials and textures, giving the clothing an even more tactile element: knitted patterns onto sweaters seem more like doodles than organized embroidery; the paperclip-style jewellery dangles to the music, and the over the shoulder tartans almost scream ‘art student’ down the runway. This is perhaps a throwback to Jamie Wei Huang’s days as a Womenswear student at Central Saint Martins, and this new collection certainly would not be unwelcome in the studios today - the distressed denim and blue fur-lined jackets perfect for keeping warm outside Granary Square!
Jamie’s first official collection was launched for A/W14 and earned her industry acclaim, including first prize for the Elle New Talent Award. Jamie previously worked for fashion houses, such as Alexander McQueen and Christopher Kane, the former resonating in her work through her focus and exploration of tailoring. For the 2012 London Olympics and Paralympics, she acted as a tailor for the closing ceremony, but fast forward to 2019 and the same interest in menswear emerges in the form of generously draped pyjama-style suits and oversized white shirts paired with navy. These provide the wearer options for a daily uniform, which adheres to Jamie Wei Huang’s signature elements: silhouettes with a focus on modernity and masculinity in the details. The simple, refined cuts of the garments arguably also give the wearer breathing space to combine the clothes to their own preference, and with such a variety of style (all of which are incredibly versatile, from punk tartan to elegant knitwear) anyone is able to express themselves through the pieces from this collection, regardless of age or gender.
Edited by Evangeline Stanford, Digital Editor