A/W 15 marks Natasa Cagalj’s first main season showcase. The Central Saint Martins trained designer, who was appointed creative director in November 2014, continues the championing of ease and relevance that she debuted for Pre-Fall. This collection defers to the everyday lives of women, from the slouchy suiting and wrapping details to the delicate yet delightful pom-pom embellishments. It is about elevating the pillars of the wardrobe – showing ‘normal’ clothes that are seamlessly and subtly turned into something special.

“My starting point was the foundation of the Ports 1961 brand – it was established by Luke Tanabe who just wanted to create a great white man’s shirt for his wife. It all began with men’s clothes for women” explains Natasa. “I imagined a woman dressed in a man's clothes who starts manipulating them and changing them. She’s thrown on ordinary things but changes them into something else. In that way, it’s about mundaneness, and embracing the mistakes and coincidences that happen in the process of dressing.” 

Nonchalance underpins every piece in the collection, from the bias cut dresses in moody grey Japanese wool to the fresh cotton-poplin shirts. Expected pillars of masculinity – the suit, the shirt, the military coat – are embodied with fluidity, and are designed to be transformed and manipulated to suit the wearer. An obsession with double functionality is evident. So, a knit comes with extra long sleeves that can be rolled up to reveal unexpected stripes on the inside, seamlessly changing the garment.

To add whimsy, and to offset the masculinity, mainstays of expected feminine dressing – lace, leopard print, chiffon - are included and toyed with. So the chiffon scarf becomes the basis for tunics and tops edged with delicate pom-poms. Similarly a dainty ribbon detail is used to create a tuxedo stripe down the side of pinstripe trousers. The surprise is in the details. Nodding to the sense of a women throwing together an outfit from a man’s clothing, perhaps in a hotel room the morning after the night before, many of the looks are styled with flats that echo hotel slippers.

The collection is rendered in the best Italian fabrics, supplied from the leading factories for suiting and men’s shirting. The majority of the fabrics have been developed especially for Natasa’s design and include engineered jacquards, silk and cotton fringing, velvet and compact wool.

In a happy turn of fate, the design studios the Ports 1961 team now work in, on Exmouth Market in Clerkenwell were previously the offices of London’s icon style title The Face. Aptly, the energy and aesthetics of the heyday period of that magazine, in particular the undone, street-led style of the 1990s, has proved of particular interest to Natasa. “It’s raw, un-airbrushed, spontaneous and improvised - I like to do things that way. That energy feels right and relevant for now,” she says. From the deliberate frayed edges to the slouchy forms and fits, the collection celebrates the unfinished. It suggests a journey just beginning.

Please click here to view the collection.