COLLECTION I

During the 60s psychiatry was still in its infancy, resembling more of a social art-form rather than the science it is today. From 1965-1970 Kingsley Hall in Bromley-by-Bow, East London became a home of a large, live-in community of trained psychiatrists, helpers, and people with varying psychoses. It was neither a hospital , nor an asylum, and, if invited to stay, everyone became a resident and, in theory, equal. People always seek some form of asylum somewhere. The person at the centre of this radical experiment was the charismatic psychiatrist RD Laing. He believed that if you allowed madness to take its natural course without intervention, without lobotomies and drugs and strait-jackets, and all the awful things they were doing at the time in mental hospitals – it would burn itself out, like an LSD trip working its way through the system.

One of the problems in retelling the Kingsley‘s Hall story is that it is simply impossible to cover all events since each one is a completely separate complex story.

„Madness is often the result of struggle to disengage from a role imposed by other people. It is sometimes nothing more than a desperate bid for liberty.“

Dr. Joseph H. Berke

The collection is inspired by this social experiment, where ten of the main characters of Kingsley Hall and their internal struggle for finding the right path are depicted artistically. We, all have the tendency to cluster people, based on their maddest edges, but sometimes a true harmony may be born out of striking differences. The perception of beauty is constantly changing and arguably fashion is the biggest expression of this. Transitory like craziness according to the interpretation of RD Laing. And this is the place allowing the unlimited expression of experiences and where one could find the long sought truth.

 

1. Ronald David Laing

I know Ronnie knows what I don’t know. He speaks paradoxically in that each remark exists simultaneously at different levels. A sense of paradox is essential to the way he communicates what he knows, testing and delineating what he knows against what other know and what other know and don’t know of what he knows while yet preserving the silent distances between persons of different realisations. I think he discovers what other know of what he knows by listening to the level of paradox they can appreciate.

Laing Dress

+ Shirt dress

+ Made from lightweight lime cotton

+ Decorative collar with snap button fastening

+ Concealed snap button fastening

2. Francis Gillet

He says on the way, that he lost all touch with himself, lost himself from any viewpoint. But also a divine experience and another memory restored. All the time we were in the corridor, he was moving from one foot to the other. But he also turns around and around in sort of response to the direction of the words. He says he never liked tranquillisation. It kept him out of the sky.

Gillet Skirt

+ Asymmetrical wrap skirt

+ Made from heavyweight dark grey cotton

+ Detail – striped from grey grosgrain ribbon trim and grey cotton

+ Exaggerated pockets

+ Two snap buttons

Gillet Jacket

+ Bomber jacket

+ Made from pink suede and grey cotton jersey

+ Grey cotton hem and cuffs

+ Clean round neckline

+ Pink leather neck facing

+ Hidden snap buttons

+ Two side pockets

3. Pamela

When I first went there I can’t remember which way round it was. Maybe I was about to be turned out. I was always getting turned out from places for various reasons. I remember going over and I wasn’t keen, I actually didn’t want to live there. She was outstanding in a way to be totally normal. I had no contact with her, literally, i don’t think I ever talked to her… It’s very strange, I forgot about her.

Pamela Dress

+ Light orchid colour silk

+ Grey leather and blue cotton front panels

+ Decorative collar with snap button fastening

+ Concealed snap button fastening

+ Grey leather belt

4. Dorothee Von Grieff

I rebelled and I didn’t want to rebel, I just wanted to live and be myself, that’s all. I was always looking for something in my environment, I couldn’t find it. I knew there was something; I didn’t know where I could connect up with it and this happened here. That was incredible liberation, in a way so dramatical, it was unexpected.

Von Grieff Dress

+ Asymmetrical dress

+ Made from grey and blue cotton

+ See-through grey chiffon right sleeve

+ Grey cotton cuffs

+ Back zip

+ Loose fit

5. Jutta Laing

I got myself a job in a studio in Soho. I did very well but my life in Kingsley Hall and my life with Ronnie became more predominant. And living in Kingsley Hall there was very little time, although I made sure that I could get out and also do my work and not get totally swallowed up by the life there, but that was very difficult because we were always a group of people looking after a person who had completely lost it, so I didn’t sleep much.

Von Grieff Dress

+ Asymmetrical dress

+ Made from grey and blue cotton

+ See-through grey chiffon right sleeve

+ Grey cotton cuffs

+ Back zip

+ Loose fit

6. Mary Barnes

The Mary Barnes story is, in a sense, the paradigm case. There were people who would say that she wasn’t really psychotic but certainly what she did was, by ordinary cultural standards, was quite mad, the way she carried on. She came out of it in a sense, although she never got beyond the story and her life consisted of telling the story.

Barnes Dress

+ A-line dress

+ Made from lime cotton

+ Overlayer of hand-painted blue organza

+ Back zip

+ Loose fit

7. Helen

Did anybody mention her? She was quite beautiful in some weird way. She began bringing people back and Ronnie got wind of this and decided he couldn’t carry on letting her break down Kingsley Hall. So he came up to her room and sat on the floor. She didn’t stay around much longer after that, she went out of the building.

Helen Dress

+ Shirt dress

+ Made from lightweight blue and lime cotton

+ Decorative collar with snap button fastening

+ Concealed snap button fastening

8. Leon

He had not started out as a wild character at all. Why he actually hang in there? He felt somehow he could contribute something, some sort of loyalty.

Leon Skirt

+ Shirt shape skirt

+ Made from lime cotton

+ Concealed front zip fastening

+ Loose fit

Leon Sweatshirt

+ Made from grey jersey

+ Right shoulder leather detail

+ Decorative suede basket weave panel

9. Zeal

obsessive..always keeping track of what is going on.. it was a way of surviving.

Zeal Top

+ Mid- weight grey cotton

+ Pink chiffon raglan sleeves

+ Grey grosgain ribbon trim on the side of the sleeves

+ Grey cotton cuffs

 
 

Zeal Trousers

+ Made from lime cotton

+ Decorative front panel

+ Concealed fastening

10. Noel Cobb

Noel said, „Zeal, do you know the difference between a neurotic and a schizophrenic?“ Zeal said, „What?“, He said, „A neurotic person bothers about twenty people but a schizophrenic bothers about eighty people“- family, friends, doctors and so forth. It depends on how many people you bother.

 Noel Trousers

+ Light orchid colour linen

+ Decorative front seam

+ Concealed fastening

 

Noel Shirt

+ Mid-weight grey cotton

+ Collar with back zip

+ Long raglan sleeves

+ Front pleats