A rather peculiar painting by Australian artist Jenny Watson hangs in Martin Grant’s Paris office and showroom. Done on grey felt, it features a woman bent over, wearing a black body-con dress and fuchsia pumps. She bends forward as if inebriated, her visage covered by a mane of strawberry blonde hair. The hair is actually horse’s hair and it’s not really part of the painting; a cord attaches it from the upper frame. The designer chuckles at the unintended similarities with the color scheme of his latest collection, because in fact, black and fuchsia feature prominently. But that’s where the similarities end, as Grant – for fall – was inspired to create the quintessential feminine wardrobe, replete with a selection of tailored, versatile classics. But enhanced.
When asked if there was a singular inspiration for the season Grant countered, “I tend not to use one inspiration. I work very much with materials. For me the design process always starts with fabrics.” A gorgeous navy jacquard with gold flecks – which the designer updated from a vintage piece – or the hoary greys, paired with midnight blues or yet still, the shocking pink complementing the sober black, confirmed that fabric and fabrication – not gimmicks or trends – were the points of departure of the collection.
A conspicuous departure from spring’s bodysuits, this was a solid exhibition of emblematic pieces mixed with quite modern design touches. A classic pea coat in a navy wool-mohair mix or a grey wrap alpaca coat contrasted with a long silk taffeta pencil skirt in fuchsia; a tailored woolen t-shirt sporting a ribbed neckline in black, with a gold-flecked sheath dress. And finally a simple sheath banded in fur at its hem.
And the Martin Grant woman we egged? “I hope they’re many of them.” Grant mused, “I view her not as one woman but a myriad of women. In this collection there’s a certain variety, consistency that I’ve offered. I try not to focus or find an ideal woman as all women are ideal.”
Yes. Somehow we’re inclined to agree with him.