Levi Palmer is having a stressful day – there’s less than a week until his Palmer//Harding showcase at London Fashion Week, and he’s wolfing down lunch as we speak. He and his design partner Matthew Harding have just shown their final designs to mentor (and former My-Wardrobe director) Carmen Borgonovo, and it’s now down to making final alterations before Sunday morning’s show.
The former Central Saint Martins graduates have created quite a name for themselves since launching in 2011. Their style is based on clean-cut tailoring and an inherent knowledge of how each item should be fitted. You may hear them referred to in insider circles as creators of ‘the world’s most perfect shirts’.
The weekend’s show, at the Institute of Contemporary Art’s regency rooms, promises the pair’s usual brand of smart, structural pieces, but with a twist.
“The collection is still aimed at the confident woman who wants something powerful and statement, but this time there’s a darker aesthetic,” says Levi. “There’s almost a sinister, seductive element, which we’ve based on various artworks and photographs, particularly the work of Helmut Newton.”
The concept for the show began almost as far back as the collection itself as, unusually, the designers produce their own shows instead of relying on an events agency.
“We’re something of an anomaly in London designers,” says Levi, “we formed our early concepts in October, and booked the venue in November. We wanted it to be a blank canvas so we can bring people into our world.”
While any live event can be subject to last minute problems, Levi was actually more nervous about the final checks with Carmen today (“It’s like being at university when you go to show your tutor your final work,”) and will be quite calm on the day itself. “I’ll be running around with my clipboard – which has a minute-by-minute plan of what’s meant to be happening – while it’s my partner Matthew who’ll be more nervous than I am. He works more closely with the collection and the models.”
The show will be using a total of 21 models, but the event requires a whopping 85 people – from hairdressers to security – to run smoothly.
And after all the drama? He’ll be relaxing with a curry. “We’ll get an Indian take away, flip through the hashtags on Instagram and go to bed – it’s not glamorous at all!”