A collective collection, of individuals in individual looks. For autumn/winter 2018, Ports 1961 is an urban tribe. Striding between divides of town and country, male and female, decorated and minimal, the collection responds to a mood of perpetual change, underscoring the peripatetic state of contemporary life and the notion of travel intrinsic to the identity of Ports.
Creative Director Nataša Čagalj and her team draw inspiration from reality – the reality of a woman’s wardrobe, the world around her, her social and cultural identities. Decorative motifs are drawn from the actuality of fabrics and manufacture: MADE IN ENGLAND and MADE IN ITALY are used for jacquard patterns and prints. These echo the internationalism of fashion today, and Ports’ identity in particular. Graphic capes are based on manufacturing labels, and care instructions taken from cashmere goods. These respond to another reality – that of luxury now.
There is a mood of bricolage – the innate freedom encourages combinations of different elements and themes, united in their diversity. The Ports 1961 show takes place in the Tanks of Tate Modern.
Art meets artisanal – a sense of the hand and of craft is vital to Ports. Textures and textiles place 2-D and 3-D side by side: finely woven Japanese wool, double-face silk cady and slick coated cottons contrast with intricate, hand-woven and hand-knitted textiles and 3-D print finishes in gloss or flock. Double-face fabrics feature trompe l’oeil animal patterns in differing scales, jacquarded into reversible double-face capes. A mohair twinset is knitted with holographic fringe, their iridescence echoed in waterproof coatings on suiting and cottons, and sequins form “showers” of fringe – practical and witty takes on the inclement British weather. The palette contrasts sombre shades of suiting with bright injections of colour – rich browns, camel, greys and khaki against ginger, pillbox red and Wallis blue.
Both silhouettes and inspirations are free and layered. Flyaway rectangular panes of fabric lend movement to shapes, shoulders are wide and eased off the body, pleated skirts animate. Garments shift, change and transform. Panels and sleeves can be added to and subtracted from pieces, the former drawn around oversized tailoring to transform shapes and perception, defining the waist to shift from masculine to feminine – another move, a different kind of travel.
For autumn/winter 2018, Ports 1961 debuts a full line of accessories. Shoes are flat, mannish brogues in leathers or silks, alongside block-heeled boots. The handbag offering includes the new Hatton, shown both as a ladylike frame shape and compact, elongated clutch with signature modernist burnished-brass clasp. The rigour and precision of these accessories form a contrast to the freedom elsewhere.
This collection traverses new territory for Ports 1961 – a different journey, a fresh terrain. A new tribe.