What piques the interest of hot new fashion talent? For some, it's the design path less traveled. Veering away from the easy route - bling, novelty fabrics, out-there design - Central Saint Martins grads Levi Palmer & Matthew Harding found themselves attracted to the challenge of overhauling that staid wardrobe staple, the white shirt, and making it fresh again. Part of the reason was timing; Harding graduated in 2010 in the depths of a deep recession. "Suddenly the idea of designing party dresses didn't quite fit the mood," the London native recently explained to Vogue (Feb. 2012). The duo looked to the past for inspiration, in particular the intricate pleating and hand finishing techniques of 30s couturiers like Madame Gres. With such a laser-like focus on special details, the fact they limit their palette to a single garment makes sense as a distraction-free way of "highlighting the progressive beauty and craft of the garments."
Before launching palmer//harding at S/S 12 London Fashion Week, the pair was nominated for the prestigious ANDAM award 2011 in Paris. Their fledgling label is now sponsored by TOPSHOP's NEWGEN program, which previously mentored Erdem, Christopher Kane & Alexander McQueen.
- Lesley Scott