Big Love

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poltockwalsh_portrait2It's ironic that so many of the designers feverishly referencing the '80s are too young to actually recall the greed decade's aggressive shoulder pads, batwing sleeves, and crotch-snap bodysuits.

Fiamma Poltock and Katie Walsh of the recently launched London label Poltock & Walsh are no exception. "Our fall collection was born out of an adoration of the strong, deliberate, and sublimely sexy lines of the late '80s," says Poltock, 26.

Poltock, a Scottish native, and Canadian-born, Dublin-raised Walsh, 25, met while studying fashion design at London's Kingston University, from which they graduated in 2004. They went on to assist John Richmond and Alexander McQueen, respectively, before deciding last fall to put their names behind their own collection.

Poltock & Walsh's debut effort for spring '07, in stores now, plays on the notion of repressed femininity stemming from the idea of a maid's uniform. Thus, a low-back ebony cocktail dress trimmed with pale ruffles riffs on the French maid's archetypal pairing of black-and-white, while pleated knickers have an artfully tattered appearance, and an empire-waist coral-color dress is firmly sculpted at the bodice.


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The '80s-influenced body-consciousness is something that admittedly influences all of the designers' creations. For fall, the duo tarts up a Lacroix-like, voluminous miniskirt with an eye-popping graphic and a dangerously short hemline. Trousers are kept lean, and dresses, even when whimsically detailed, fit like a second-skin.

As with the spring collection, Poltock & Walsh reserve their most scintillating and surprising accents for the back: a mini-smock dress in pink metallic reverses to a gigantic, playful bow, for instance, while other pieces boast cut-out geometric panels and elegant rows of buttons. "We love the idea of an enticing back," says Walsh. Just as a revealing backside is balanced by a prim front, the pair also tempers a punchy palette of plum, fuchsia, and hot mustard with sophisticated neutrals such as nude, gold, and gray.


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The overall impression is—as we've come to expect from the London fashion scene—both sufficiently bold and streetwise. So, it's no surprise that both designers claim they can't live without their skinny black jeans, a London staple and, of course, another relic of the '80s.

Poltock & Walsh is available in London at Sefton Clothing UK, 271 Upper Street, London; (011 44) 20 7 226 9822. For more information go to www.poltockandwalsh.com (note: website is undergoing changes, so check back periodically).

A passion for '80s excess feeds the new London line, Poltock & Walsh.