Peter Jensen is a name of Central Saint Martins fame; like many designers who graduated from that prestigious institution, his shows have the power of unsettling as much as pleasing their audience – technical bravura applying to both effects. All seems jolly and good with the vivid green coats, country chequered shirts, pink vichy and dark green socks in camel oxfords.
And yet, just like his rabbit logo and the uncanny font of his last name, an aura of darkness seems to counterbalance the idyllic countryside vibe, as visible from the second part of the show, where looks are mostly black and jewellery and other accessories become surreal. The satchel is XXL, the tie is a trompe-l’oeil in good Alice in Wonderland fashion.
The show is, in fact, very Lewis Carroll – a 21st century Carroll that is, a sugar-and-creeps mix delayed for kidults. Peter Jensen’s creatures are more nostalgic than hipster-afflicted, dressing themselves with the reassuring models of Bardot, Birkin and other 50s/60s divas in mind.
Through the mirror glass, however, peeks a more recent influence of Jensen: Alfred Hitchcock, whom he referenced in his prefall Tippi. If that show evoked the Birds (1963) or Marnie (1964), this one seems to mix the Hitch atmosphere with 60s Saint-Tropez or French classics such as Pierrot le Fou (1965) or La Piscine (1969) – the ghosts of psychosis ever present behind sugary pinks and preppy prints.
Suggestive associations aside, these beautiful clothes will not only be perfect for a déjeuner sur l’herbe - in ton-sur-ton with picnic’s blankets, how sweet – but also to be perfectly middle-class appropriate in the hot days of summer.
Photos and review Isa Jakob