February 08 2012
We all know those slick, plushly produced promotional brochures put out by luxury brands to showcase their latest collections, and we don’t expect anything like it from comparatively impecunious young British designers. Indeed, The Collective, which you will find this week in several stores that stock the work of Osman Yousefzada, bears only a superficial resemblance to the average brochure in that – large format and on expensive matte paper – it is beautifully produced. It is also far more interesting than most.
The clientele for Osman’s clean-lined, minimal style with a softening hint of ethnic detail is primarily the arts- and fashion-world intelligentsia (wearers include Samantha Cameron, Lady Gaga, Turner prizewinner Susan Phillips and Tate Modern curator Catherine Wood), and Yousefzada has cleverly called in favours from many. One of the success stories of his generation, he is nonetheless not at the big production level, and everyone involved gave their time and resources for free – which is why, he is at at pains to point out, it is called The Collective.
Haunting photographic impressions and properly artistic illustrations of the spring collection are interleaved with more photographs of “real” women (always persuasive for clients) and thoughtful, challenging essays by authoritative figures on the blockbuster subjects of beauty, power and elegance, with a couple of specially commissioned artworks dropped in.
As a rarity – a fashion brochure with interesting reading – it is a graceful, and free, addition to the spring coffee table. Only 1,500 have been printed. Snap one up this week at Selfridges, Browns, Matches, Harvey Nichols or The Shop at Bluebird, perhaps along with your first spring dress.