'Three Coats' by Siv Støldal and Ruth Hogben, at SHOWstudio
AW 2008-09 / Three Wardrobes
SS 2008 / High Visibility
AW 2007-08 / Cover Up
SS 2007 / Camouflage
AW 2006-07 / Seasonal/Effective/Disorder
SS 2006 / Sportswear
AW 2005-06 / Dress Up/Down
SS 2005 / Outside/In
AW 2004-05 / Disguise
AW 2003-04 / Trace

Project / Cover Up
Project / Trace

Collaboration / Fred Perry





If that old saying “The devil is in the detail” is true, then by rights designer Siv Støldal should have horns sprouting from her head, and a pitchfork in her hand, such is her enduring dedication to the subtle-but-significant nuances of garments. The Outside/In collection, for Spring/Summer 05, expands upon this on-going quest, firstly by questioning how we tend to label clothes into specific categories, and thereafter exploring the details said garments generally possess in order to be included in a certain, recognised category.

The categories of Underwear and Outerwear have acted as key inspirations - their very names seeming to dictate when, where and how they are worn. Think about it: both categories tend to play host to distinctive details which most people are so used to that they barely even notice anymore. But look again, lazy-eyes, because the use of special little seams, or the myriad different types of buttons - along with specifically-chosen fabrics, cuts and colouring - can reveal a wealth of information about where a garment might belong, and what use it is expected to provide for the wearer. 

All these details therefore tell a veritable story. One type of button can hint at a trench coat, perforated fabric can suggest an old man’s vest, aertex conjures up outdoor clobber,  hoods that can be folded and zipped into the collar are associated with raincoats… and so on. When they are removed from their usual context, however, their symbolic values become more visible, and the tales they typically tell take on new twists and turns.

Hence, a pleasingly witty confusion prevails throughout Outside/In, evidenced in hand-tailored suit jackets in jersey - grey marl and white Perinene - complete with tiny holes that reveal the tailoring canvas and stitching underneath. Sporty, ‘All Weather Jackets’
(a modern Norwegian classic) are also re-worked via mixtures of transparent PVC, jersey and Aertex, despite typically being fashioned from simply Gore-Tex, in red, royal and navy blue, mint, grey and military green. Trousers also feature a deft stoke of subversion, being rendered from Selicia, a cotton fabric normally used purely for pocketing by tailors. Light underwear-like tops feature V-necks, compete with printed images of hooded parkas poking out, to indeed look as though your are wearing a parka underneath. Finally,  photo-prints of underwear - and of lingerie imagery culled from catalogues -  which were used in the designer’s original research, have been applied on to other jacket and tops, thus proposing a new form of pant-flashing as a red hot trend for the sunny months ahead.

Words: James Anderson

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