Charlotte Knowles: Ready-to-Wear SS21

The Charlotte Knowles woman is always prepared for battle. Her skin-tight fashions have become her armour, charging through each day in sensual body-con, razor-sharp shearlings and corsets akin to bullet-proof vests. You’d think, then, that during a global pandemic she would go into full-on survival mode. Wrong.

After designers Charlotte Knowles and Alexandre Arsenault spent the majority of lockdown apart – Knowles with her parents in Devon, Arsenault in London – the pair reunited once more with the aim of making a spring/summer collection that was “really creative, positive and uplifting.”

The starting point was the duo’s shared fascination for early-2000s fashion and pop culture – all things MTV and trashy. Wanting to produce a collection that was both colourful and optimistic, yet with a subversive edge, the pair then began looking to the ‘flower power’ movements of the 1960s and ’70s.

Dubbed Petals, the brand’s SS21 collection is as hopeful as it is empowering. Mini-dresses with handkerchief hemlines are worn over peach-hued leather trousers and cycling shorts that are high-waisted and spliced at the hip. Infrared colourways – including burnt orange oil spills and acidic florals – dazzle across body-suits, A-Line suede skirts and noughties style jeans; the brand’s first foray into denim.

The looks are brought to life in a short film by on-going collaborator Harley Weir, who Knowles has been a fan of ever since she was a teen. Spliced with time-lapse footage that illustrates the life cycle of various flowers, models spin on rotating platforms; their bodies adorned with crystal patterns courtesy of Thomas de Kluyver. This is the Charlotte Knowles woman reincarnated – watch her bloom.

Photography and film by Harley Weir.

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