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Illusion and wit at the Lee Paton AW16 launch


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Displayed in the beautiful penthouse of the Dorchester, Lee Paton launched his Autumn-Winter 2016 collection on Wednesday 1st June 2016.

Walking through the collection was like walking through a dreamland. With unreal leaves and branches detailing the mirrors and candle-like electric lights, the room was illusionistic. With this in mind, there was an encouragement to see the illusion in Paton’s collection.

The collection had the appearance of being a work-in-progress. Seamstresses sat in the first room adding beading and intricate detailing to some of the garments on display. The impression that the works were genuinely unfinished added an eccentric edge to the otherwise sleek, traditionally elegant clothes.

One of the mannequins appeared to have been brought to life, holding on to a lead with a peacock in front. The peacock was real, but not alive as it may have looked at first glance. Known for his skills in taxidermy, the stuffed peacock added an element of his defining individuality to the collection.

Lee Paton AW16 launch 

With the illusionism of the collection’s display, Paton introduced life and character into the room filled with still, lifeless mannequins.

There was distinctive wit and irony in the display of the collection, representing the unique appeal of the house of Lee Paton. He is able to design garments with clear references to historical influences as he draws upon the traditional styles of Scotland and France, reflecting his family roots. Equally, it is easy to identify the influences of historic and military tailoring. Yet, his garments very much belong in the present as he rethinks tradition to add wit and individuality.

At the Dorchester, beyond the new collection were rooms with his AW15 and SS16 Ready-To-Wear collections. Seeing the three collections together highlighted both the continuity and originality of each of his collections. Whilst this may sound contradictory, there were clear similarities in the silhouettes and luxurious sophistication of each collection, but distinctly different themes and concepts between each one.

“For Elizabeth”, Paton’s AW15 collection, was influenced by his muse Elizabeth McGorian, the Royal Ballet’s Principal Character Artist and a private client of his house. He was inspired by her joie de vivre, ballet poise and love of luxury, creating the collection to capture her desirability.

For Elizabeth AW15 

The SS16 collection is titled “La Dame en Noir”, inspired by Paton meeting a woman on Potocho-Dori on a trip to Asia.  The collection shows his ability to add personality into the simplest of styles. As an all-black collection, it is striking to consider the versatility of the garments. Variations of textiles and detailing allow the garments to be recognisably part of the collection, but each individually unique.

La Dame en Noir SS16

As the location of the launch was illusionistic, the beauty of Paton’s AW16 collection is unbelievable. With beauty, luxury, and wit recurring throughout his collections, it is difficult not to admire Lee Paton’s originality and exceptional skill.

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