Andrew GN: A Mercurial Approach to Design, PFW Spring/Summer 2019
Andrew GN is a designer with a mercurial approach to design. Unlike his peers, one collection rarely rolls into the next, and he does not lazily re-appropriate his previous collections.
I have learned the hard way not to get too comfortable in my love affair with his work because each new season’s siren call commands all my attention forcing me to turn a cold shoulder to the previous. Andrew GN devotees understand that resistance is futile as every new collection is more beautiful and glorious than the last.
In May of this year, Andrew GN held a private VIP Trunk Show at retail concept boutique Leisure Center and over the two days entertained many well-heeled women from not only Canada but many who flew in from around the world for an audience with this haute couture designer.
The event was my introduction to the designer, his warm, robust personality, and his sense of humour, made for a fantastic interview. The Spring/Summer and Pre-Fall 2018 Collections were elaborate, embellished, and fantastically floral structured silhouettes and a handful of impossible to sit in gowns.
“Earlier this year we were honoured to have Andrew GN visit for a personal appearance to meet with our clients. Many of his loyal shoppers are looking for pieces that are feminine and elegant and we think they will be excited to shop his Spring/Summer 2019 collection. Andrew presented many looks with colour and playful prints this season and in particular, we loved the dresses with beautiful floral imagery, elegant ruffles, and bold, jewel tone colours.”
If you peruse Andrew GNs personal Instagram account, you can follow a man devoted to finery, enthralled with vividness, and intense visuals whether the subject is dining, décor, or impossibly cute panda bears.
Citing 1960s ‘influencers’ such as model Veruschka, Russian artist Kazimir Malivich, and the controversial creative coterie ‘The Bloomsbury Group’ as muses for this latest collection, Andrew GN presented to his audience a complex read-to-wear retro reflective collection.
The designer began with the weaving of a love affair in black and white—somewhat confounding a digital world saturated with colour. There was a boldness in the patterns and ornamentation that showed how, as a designer, he was just at ease with a minimal palette as he is creating bold colour statements.
Without even a hint of camp, the catwalk was resplendent with elaborate embroidery and brocades, beaded fringe, punctuating grommets, ebullient ruffles, the boldest of florals, and the occasional pair of knee-high python boots in pastel hues.
I had the opportunity to interview Andrew GN, as he headed to Taiwan at the invitation of Taiwan Vogue to be feted for their 10th Anniversary, about the transition from 2018s structure to 2019s unbridled flowiness.
After creating genius pieces of structure and intensive floral elements, is it liberating to be designing in black and white? Have you ever felt creatively bound by your obsessions?
Designing in black and white is actually not as liberating as one would think… it takes a great attention to form, construction and balance of the opposing tones. Sometimes a very delicate exercise. I never feel creatively bound. My mind wanders constantly and takes me from one thing to another. I design according to how I feel at a given moment.
Many themes running through the new collection. Were you designing with a complicated woman in mind who craves variety or where you designing for many different women?
Yes, there are some quite different themes in this SS19 collection. I believe a modern woman wants a diversity of choices, going sportswear in the day and elegantly refined after 5 pm. Tracksuits, beaded gowns, sneakers, heels, all can find their way into the same wardrobe.
We are familiar with designers utilizing muses in their creative process but have never heard of an artist collective like The Bloomsbury Group inspiring fashion design. Can you explain how you came to be familiar with the group and how they inspired you?
First time I heard about the Bloomsbury Group was through House & Garden, a wonderful feature on the home of Duncan Grant and Vanessa Bell in Charlestown, Sussex. I found myself intensely drawn to that riot of imaginative decoration on every possible surface. It is the artistic lifestyle and aesthetic choices of that Group that appeal to me, more than the intellectual part.
Backstage in Paris, WWD recorded a quote that speaks volumes on how the designer thinks: “We’re living in a world full of wastage and disposable fashion. Since the very beginning of my career, I’ve been trying to design something very beautifully crafted, beautifully designed, that women will keep for years. It’s my own way of contributing to sustainability in fashion today.”
Pieces from the new collection are due to arrive at Leisure Center in January 2019.
Photographer Kristy Sparow has had a lifelong love affair with photography. After many years developing her career in Los Angeles, she made a move to Paris in 2009 where she has been consistently working at the top of her trade in fashion, music, and entertainment, with images regularly seen in major media around the world. She has worked the runway for most major designer brands and counts Chanel, Estée Lauder, Justin Timberlake, and The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, among her client list.