Incan Embroidery Brings an Exotic Edge to the Peter Pilotto Catwalk

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If you want outside-the-box knits, exotic patterns, playful color pairings, and vivid embroidery, you look to the Peter Pilotto brand.

One thing that tends to set London runways apart is that a majority of designers choose to march to the beat of their own drum by refusing to follow trends. Rather, they love mounting shows that further develop their own respective aesthetics, be that with volume and eery styling à la Gareth Pugh, or fantastical prints at Mary Katrantzou.

Peter Pilotto and Christopher de Vos are among the more stubbornly self-facing designers, who instead of looking at what everyone else is doing, focus with laser intensity on articulating signature craftsmanship. If you want outside-the-box knits, exotic patterns, playful color pairings, and vivid embroidery, you look to the Peter Pilotto brand. For Fall/Winter 2017, the design duo were feeling an Incan theme, but it was so thoroughly reimagined with plush, padded volumes, intricate stitching, embroidery, and foiled brocade as to be eons removed from its original form.

Peter Pilotto Fall/Winter 2017
Photo: Courtesy of Imaxtree

Thematic clues appear from the start, displayed on the giant flank-side pockets of a blown-up tweed coat – those raised squiggles looked familiar, but their origins were still to be revealed. Every look showcased the brand’s intense stitchwork, displayed in multi-colored patterns that soon took on the form of Incan totems. They appeared on quilted booties, stitch-worked wellies, and embroidered slippers, and were even rendered in abstract form as ombre corkscrew-style earrings. It was strange to see these blocky, archaic shapes – created by Jochen Holz – on such hyper-modern looks, but as always, it worked.

This crafty collection was immensely clever, and ideal for the woman who likewise marches to the beat of her own drum.

Contrast trim was also repeated on many looks, and the sporty trim that criss-crossed earlier looks was eventually transformed into zipper enhancements coursing up the slope of pant legs – a sporty but urbane take on the track pant. On the softer side of things, there were fragile crocheted dresses made with gauzy thread and spray painted in sections for an out-of-focus effect, gauzy, draped frocks covered in brocade patches, and one elegant salmon pink velvet wrap dress with a jeweled patch at the hip. Many of the outerwear pieces came with curious button-attached sleeve accents in a slightly funneled shapes, which was a genius way to convert the sleeves from short to long with minimal effort. This crafty collection was immensely clever, and ideal for the woman who likewise marches to the beat of her own drum.

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