Graeme Armour

“He was soft and romantic, then hard and dark,” says Scottish designer Graeme Armour of the late Alexander McQueen, under whom he apprenticed during his fashion studies at Central Saint Martins. “It’s something I find in my own work.” But while McQueen is the progenitor of the fierce/fragile dichotomy that underlies the aesthetic of a new generation of provocateurs, Armour’s hard-edged elegance is all his own. For spring, Armour’s acuity for elaborate detail plays out through the evolution of his zipper motif, a signature of earlier collections. Here, zippers are coiled into petal shapes or used as trim on modernist black, white and gold leather dresses, resulting in a tactile hybrid of utility and femininity.

“I love the feeling of sports mixed with elements of couture,” says Armour. In other words: “cool, expensive, experimental and fun”—which is also how he describes the type of woman drawn to his clothes. After all, this is a man whose first widely coveted garment was a pair of gold pants consisting of delicate leather foliage resembling the underside of a mushroom. “I produced that collection for £1250 right on my kitchen table,” he says of his 2009 debut. Among Armour’s early adopters were Kate Bosworth, Cheryl Cole and the always intrepid Lady Gaga.

With plans for a resort collection, an exclusive Japanese “jersey” line and, of course, spring 2011 well under way, Armour is quickly rising to the level of fame enjoyed by fellow Scottish designers Christopher Kane and Jonathan Saunders. “The Scots are having a moment, and quite rightly,” he says. “The glamour of dress and excess are part of the Scottish culture,” he notes, quipping, “Some Scottish women look like the daughters of Valentino in a country that has no sun!”

photos: Saga Sig
styling/make-up: Elisabet Alma Svendsen
model: Azila @ FM Models