Mary Benson is another fabulous new name that we spotted at London Fashion Week, and we managed to catch up with the team in person at the British Fashion Council’s London Show Rooms in Paris during Paris Fashion Week. It’s an intriguing womenswear collection founded by Mary, and now created by her and new her design partner, Morten Ussing.
I met the pair in their showroom space, drawn in by the stunningly dramatic white dress set next to a rail full of their collection. On my first view of the dress I was thinking romance, girlish abandon, vintage elegance with an 80’s twist. Then I met Mary and Morten and they set me straight…
The pair explained that this collection is a reflection each experiencing some pretty tough heartbreak and all of the mixed up feelings that accompany it. Fresh from a break up myself I was really very much in the mood to appreciate where this innovative design duo were coming from. Some pieces in the collection are just detailed with hearts and flowers, but these swiftly become tear-filled eyes, which in turn are joined by lines of handwriting. The scrawled words start out looking sweetly beseeching but quickly loose control and end up rather crazed and a bit sweary. This is literally wearing your heart on your sleeve, along with your private journal shared right across your back.
It is utterly modern, clever, and artistic in a kinda Tracey Emin way. The collection manages to express a certain ownership of those feelings and in turn reveals a level of empowerment. The silhouettes have a kind of Biba-esque simplicity about them, allowing the surface pattern to sing out, whilst abstractly dipping in and out across areas of volume.
This is a label you are sure to hear more of. This may be their first taste of being part of the London Fashion Week establishment (last year Benson showed as part of Fashion East), but they are already well supported. For this collection they collaborated with Stephen Jones for the hats (how gorgeous is that red heart!), and with Tatty Devine on this utterly genius tear-adorned eyewear, modelled by Mary herself.
Thanks so much to Mary and Morten for the time that they gave me in Paris. I hope that it was a huge success. Oh and can I borrow that really sweary number to hang out outside my exes place this weekend please?
For more of our London Fashion Week coverage, just look here.
Words by Lucy Williams.
Images by Lucy Williams, unless otherwise stated.