Jill Golden Goes to Seventies London (in her Mind)
Somehow, the journey began with a YouTube video of a lion.
You know the Christian the lion viral video? Well, that whole saga was the totally unexpected jumping-off point of what soon became Jill Golden’s obsession with London in the seventies—the fashion, homes, music, all of it. Turns out, her parents had visited the city during that period and dug up old travel slides from their time there, sealing the deal: She had to dedicate pieces of her glossy, easy-to-wear jewelry line Flutter to the era. Here’s what fueled the Jubilee collection—which includes her Of a Kind edition! —and how it came together.
“1977 was the Queen’s Silver Jubilee, which was a huge celebration. But it was also a time of economic distress, which coincided with—or maybe sparked—the punk-rock movement. Perhaps the pinnacle of punk was the Sex Pistols’s controversial song ‘God Save the Queen’ and their performance on the Thames just days before the Jubilee.”
“The rise of the punk-rock movement also extended into fashion, with Vivienne Westwood and her partner Malcolm McLaren, who was the manager of the Sex Pistols.“
“There was also a large presence by Biba in London at that time, with Barbara Hulanicki opening of her large department store—which had an Art Deco style—on Kensington High Street. I think all of these forces together made my collection a real mix of industrial and jeweled aesthetics, with colorful accents and a variety of materials and shapes.”
“The first piece I did was the Rendall necklace—it has a bit of an industrial-slash-vintage vibe. The lions on the ends are a nod to that original documentary that started the whole adventure.” (And those are her parents’ images in the background!)
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Though Althea Harper (who you might know for her second-place finish on Project Runway’s sixth season) spent her college years hopping around Europe to study under titans like Alexander McQueen and Vivienne Westwood, the Dayton, Ohio, native’s non-technical design approach is her real hallmark. Not long after she launched her namesake line for fall 2009, she realized she needed to backtrack. “It’s one thing when you’re designing in this fantasy world for yourself, but it’s another when you’re designing in the real world,” she explains. “As I started wearing my collection, I remembered that not everyone wants something that’s super fitted or severely cut.” And at 5’10”, Althea knew she had another problem to eradicate.
Enter Sittella, a breezy, ultra-comfy offshoot of her main line. In addition to hand-dyeing each organic bamboo jersey piece, Althea purposely leaves ample material at the (unfinished!) hems so shorter ladies can cut a skirt, dress, or jumpsuit to whatever length they prefer without visiting a tailor. “To accommodate, everything in the line is designed so people can make those changes themselves,” Althea adds. The result: something for everyone. —lauren caruso