Thursday, April 22, 2010

Peter Pilotto: In Print

London correspondent, Nicole Dalamagas takes us into the colorful world of Peter Pilotto

Ladies, banish your little black dresses to the back of your wardrobe, 2010 is the year of colour.

Too long has fashion's gloomy front row dressed in adequate attire for a funeral procession; with prints as edgy as Schwab, a cool-rating that's creeping up on Kane and body-con fits that make a Leger dress look like your Grandma's over sized sweater, it is no wonder that Peter Pilotto's colorful designs are gracing the bodies of every buyer, editor and stylist in sight. Even Michelle Obama has been caught wearing one of his explosive prints.

Pilotto and his partner, Christopher De Vos, an ex-Vivienne Westwood designer, combine their creative genius to staggering effect: Pilotto provides a unique textile base overlaid with stunning nature-inspired watercolor prints which De Vos then drapes and crafts, bandaging every curve to build an enviable silhouette. The duo, who met at Antwerp's Royal Academy of Fine Arts in 2000, assume a more scientific approach to design; together they fuse high-end couture with ageless sophistication, mixing microscopic, hyper-real prints with draped lightweight chiffon, silks and knitwear that fit to perfection.

Spring-Summer 2009 marked their third London catwalk show, of which they were awarded New Generation sponsorship, supported by Topshop. The London label's mastery with pattern and color was evident in their abstracted firework prints, mimicking the reflection of fireworks on a rippling ocean; twisting something chemical and manufactured into a naturalistic, classical scene that is pure Peter Pilotto offbeat style.

Like many current designers, Pilotto is one of those whose thoughts have turned, this season, to the massive, fundamental events of natural history, developing prints from the digital manipulation of photos of fur and reptile skin, creating silk tufted tops tipped with paint to resemble erupting volcanoes ,and building chunky embroidery from geometric plastic paillettes.

Autumn/ Winter 2010 will undoubtedly be the season when the multi-cultural design duo (Peter is half Austrian/half Italian and Christopher is Libyan born and of Austrian ancestry), finally break through from the early adopters into a more mainstream crowd. Their show at London Fashion Week featured inspirations from art installations by Jan de Cock, the paintings of Francis Bacon and the texture and fit of leather.

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