Katie Eary on Bowie, PJs, Print and Her AW16 Collection

Yesterday, Katie Eary returned to the catwalk with designs inspired by sleepwear, the 70s and Iggy Pop. Coincidentally, as the world mourned the passing of music and fashion legend David Bowie, the designer unveiled a collection that centred on him and the seminal documentary he featured in, The Sacred Triangle. We caught up with Eary to discuss her obsession with PJs, print and pattern and her unintentional tribute to Britain's beloved icon.

PJs are certainly the item of the moment right now. Why do you think pyjamas are being worn by day as workwear and to parties, and why are they at the core of your AW16 collection?
In terms of style and the power of the PJ in daily dressing, I think they can be seen as a sartorial garment if styled and worn in the right way. They are essentially a tailored garment and so work well dressed up or dressed down with a slouch trouser or denim. Any of my dearest friends can you tell you about my love affair with pyjamas.

People are really embracing genderless clothing and a flamboyance in print and style for both men and women, manifested in the prevalence of the 70s trend. How is your take different from what’s been going on in fashion for the past couple of seasons?
I was inspired by a moment in popular music culture/subculture, sparked by The Sacred Triangle documentary, directed by Alec Lindsell. Bowie, Iggy & Lou 1971-1973, a film analysing the influences artists Lou Reed and Iggy Pop had on David Bowie and how Bowie had in-turn been fundamental in nurturing their careers. Following the journey of the clothing from lover to stage outfits, I was taken by Iggy Pop and Nico’s brief fling leading to the idea of them swapping clothes in the process of creating music and being lovers. This rule applied to all rockstars of that time with their lovers. It's my version of magpie androgyny.
This seems like a pivotal moment where you’re stepping up towards a more mature design. Was this a considered change? Are humour and subversiveness still at the core of your brand?
It was a considered change. I wanted to show a more grown up collection and really take a look at the way I do print. This is such a key element to my brand and it was important to try and make more tonal changes to the colour palette, lessen the sheen aspect of the collection that has been seen in previous seasons and really focus on the placement of the print and breaking off small elements of a print (such as taking one moth or one fish) and embroidering it on a knitted jumper. Regarding humour or subversiveness, it's a part of my DNA, so the fish prints I designed had their eyes replaced with human eyes, which added a twist. Do you still believe that London is the menswear capital of the world?
I do and it seems to continue to reign supreme. I think LC:M has really come a long way in helping the cause for pushing men's collections to a wider audience and it helps having a group of well known ambassadors such as Nick Grimshaw, David Gandy, Oliver Proudlock, Oliver Cheshire and Tinie Tempah. It helps to give London designers a global focus on a different level. What have you been listening to in the run up to the show?
A lot of Iggy Pop and Bowie after watching the documentary that helped inspire the collection.

I was taken by Iggy Pop and Nico’s brief fling leading to the idea of them swapping clothes in the process of creating music and being lovers. It's my version of magpie androgyny.

How do you approach womenswear and menswear differently? What are the pleasures and perks of designing each?
My design approach is exactly the same when I'm doing men’s or women’s, so, effectively, I’ve been developing my idea of gender fluidity but with a working story of rock stars, artists, playwrights, musos and groupies. Do you still get the same buzz before the show and sense of panic or does it run a lot more smoothly now?
This season I felt the most calm I ever have. I was 100% on time with production, fittings, casting, but of course I still get the same buzz and at the end of the show, I have my 15 minutes of crazy adrenaline! What’s in store for 2016?
I have some really exciting collaborations coming up, the main one being with IKEA! I have produced a 40+ piece collection of fabrics, crockery, cushions, tables, puzzles, bedding, lamp shades and trays. It's all very colourful and has graceful fish prints and crazy eyeball prints too. The colour mix are blues, greens and reds. It will be available in over 300 stores worldwide so it's the biggest collaboration I have done to date and will available in June/July! Follow Katie Eary on Instagram @KatieEary

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