It appears every designer these days is diving headfirst into the metaverse. From NFTs to AI-generated campaigns, there's no denying that Web3 is an exciting space that's breaking boundaries in fashion. On the flip side, there are the purists, like London-based designer John Alexander Skelton whose feet are planted firmly in the physical realm. Last night the sartorial tour de force and his like-minded apostles (dressed head to toe in the designer’s timeless tailoring) journeyed to Spitalfields for the private unveiling of John Alexander Skelton Collection XIV.
No stranger to rejecting the traditional fashion week schedule, Skelton has opted out of runway shows in favour of lookbooks since graduating from Central Saint Martins MA program in 2016. Influenced by 19th-century menswear (with high-waisted trousers and frock coats a mainstay in his lineup), there is patience to how Skelton works that doesn’t align with the pressures the fashion system puts on designers. At the core of his process is developing a meaningful narrative and utilising artisanal techniques like hand-dying fabrics and patching. Taking this dogmatic approach to the next level, Skelton is presenting his latest collection as an exhibition at the House of Annetta.
On why he decided to present his collection this way Skelton revealed, ‘I felt that it wouldn’t translate well into a traditional show (not that my shows are ever traditional). I had also become a little uninterested in doing shows, so the prospect of doing an exhibition and everything that involves was very enticing.' The choice of venue, the 18th Century home of artist Annetta Pedretti, further highlights the designer’s rejection of the expected. ‘The history of the house is visible and alive in a way that is very much a rarity, it enriches the work and is the antithesis of a modern white-walled gallery. Perhaps even antidotal.’
The collection itself was inspired by Neolithic British rock art and the picturesque landscapes of the UK where they are found. Venturing to these Neolithic sites, Skelton’s signature silhouettes crafted from hand-felted wools finished in natural dyes, blends seamlessly against the countries rolling hills. Presenting this idealised vision of the natural world for his exhibition, Skelton entrusted photographer William Waterworth and filmmaker Joel Kerr to create the collection's lookbook and short film. 'I think that we share the same world in terms of our interests which subsequently translates through all of our work in a visual sense', says Skelton.
Fan's of Skelton's work can head to House of Annetta from 13-14 January to discover the collection for themselves.
John Alexander Skelton Collection XIV
House of Annetta
25 Princelet street
London, E1 6QH