by Alex Fury .

Nathan Jenden

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Frankly, a show based on 'Tudor princesses at the court of a 21st century Samurai' could only fill my very soul with dread, but Nathan Jenden's collection made me eat my words. The late hour, poor lighting and dank, mildewed venue somewhere under London Bridge station were equally portenteous of a foray into late-90s McQueen theatrics, but Jenden's collection was astute, concise and above all realistic. Working with inspirations like Holbein portraits but removing the weight and stuffiness is a mark of Jenden's skill - he created gathered peplums and bishop sleeves reminiscent of the splendour of Tudor costume, but in firm wool and textured tweed they became resolutely contemporary. Surface decoration in self-colour embroidery and applique picked up the richness of Renaissance costume without overpowering, and a glittering golden crystal carapace of a gown seems destined for a future red carpet. If occasionally the collection veered into Am Dram territory - courtesy of a few overactive ruffs, diamante masks and the lead-white Taboo maquillages - there was more than enough lean, clean tailoring and knockout cocktail wear to cover up a few overenthusiastic errors in judgement.

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