As a child, they could not keep me from wells
And old pumps with buckets and windlasses.
I loved the dark drop, the trapped sky, the smells
Of waterweed, fungus and dank moss.
One, in a brickyard, with a rotted board top.
I savoured the rich crash when a bucket
Plummeted down at the end of a rope.
So deep you saw no reflection in it.
A shallow one under a dry stone ditch
Fructified like any aquarium.
When you dragged out long roots from the soft mulch
A white face hovered over the bottom.
Others had echoes, gave back your own call
With a clean new music in it. And one
Was scaresome, for there, out of ferns and tall
Foxgloves, a rat slapped across my reflection.
Now, to pry into roots, to finger slime,
To stare, big-eyed Narcissus, into some spring
Is beneath all adult dignity. I rhyme
To see myself, to set the darkness echoing.
— “Personal Helicon” by Seamus Heaney
In the poem “Personal Helicon”, childhood experiences became the source of Seamus Heaney’s poetic inspiration. In Greek mythology, Helicon was the site of two springs sacred to the Muses, deemed the source of poetic inspiration. This season, inspired by Heaney’s poem and Afton’s childhood memories of her times in her grandfather’s village in Indonesia, she visualised a woman on a journey filled with a sense of wonder and discovery. Creating this collection reminded Afton to not lose some aspect of this childlike wonder, and to revisit and reminisce the intense sensory experience as one connects with the natural world.
The collection is articulated in arresting colours lifted from the landscape of her grandfather’s village, of stilt houses on the olive-sapphire sea, vibrant coloured roofs of boats, dark teal outline of distant mountains, smells of dank moss and the salty sea. The designs this season are dreamy and immersive: billowy and light dresses digitally printed, full circled skirts and retro-feminine silhouettes. A main detail that is echoed throughout the collection is a double pleated technique that is applied to achieve more volume, texture and movement to the piece.
There is an emphasis on the importance of dressing for yourself. As we create this collection with majority of the pieces engineered to have more than one way to wear it, we want you to explore and have fun dressing up. As you experience this sense of discovery, we want you to embrace it with childlike wonder.
As Heaney wrote: “Now, to pry into roots, to finger slime/ To stare, big-eyed Narcissus, into some spring”.