Jane Carr’s S/S 14 collection “Fireflies”, is inspired by the Burning Man festival during the late eighties and the Afro-futurism imagery and eclectic dress of the legendary jazz musician, poet and philosopher, Sun Ra. The Love prints can be easily styled with a little black dress as well as with a leather jacket, adding a fun yet elegant twist to any look.
“I wanted to create a print to celebrate love and the spirit of freedom which is inherent to the S/S 14 collection,” comments Creative Director, Jane Carr.
Much before Donatella Versace helped her learn how to use colour in textiles, scarf designer, Jane Carr,“intuitively” sensed a “job in fashion” was what she’d spend her life doing. So she went through the classic rigmarole of attending Central Saint Martins, following it with a stint at Versace in Milan as Head of Printed Textiles.
Summing her experience under the Versace headquarters as “phenomenal and brilliant”, Jane says, “It was a small close-knit team which meant everyone got to do a lot. It wasn’t like one of the big American companies where you’d have somebody for buttons and somebody for zips and somebody for shoes.”
Born into a family where artistic genes expressed dominance, launching herself as a scarf designer was a path Jane would blaze eventually. Her father used to be a display artist, and she remembers him “doing the windows” for Harvey Nichols and Liberty, London, when she was younger. “Whenever I got to go with him, which wasn’t very often, he would be doing his meeting and I was looking around the stores,” she reminisces.
After returning to London from Milan, Jane served as consultant for Balenciaga and Jil Sander before deciding to adopt the scarf as her design “canvas” and starting her own label in 2005. But, why the scarf?
“Everyone wears it differently which is part of the fun of it,” she says. “Some are sloppy with them, others are prim. And it can be worn in so many different ways.”
The Jane Carr brand has a certain rock and roll sensibility, heavily inspired by music. Her SS 14 women’s collection “Fireflies” was likened to, in her own words, “Burning Man festival, but luxury”. The collection is at best described as a cacophony of fiery prints inspired by The Rolling Stone’s Altamont concert.
“That concert was everything that went wrong, with the Hell Angel’s manning it, and the whole gang culture going on in 1969. That formed the basis of the collection,” says Jane.
“The whole idea was literally about looking at an open-air concert in the summer, not necessarily now when everyone dresses the same. It was going back to an almost innocent field, literally seeing fireflies on a starry night and having different stories to tell. And we wanted that to show in the different prints in our collection, which says different stories.”
She also confesses to a certain influence by Mick Jagger. “You can’t help but make references to people like Mick Jagger. I think there is a freedom and anarchy to it. Like he’s doing everything you want to be doing. There’s probably a jealousy as well.”
In her studio, Jane expects you to find her listening to everything between Daft Punk and Stones. “I think by music a lot and by contemporary art. Subconsciously you put it all together and it becomes a mix in the collection. It somehow picks up on the zeitgeist. You can’t say how it got there but it just shows,” she says as we ruffle about her SS-14 collection in her spacious and bright studio office in London.
“There’s always music on and I think it also affects us in our styling when we do shoots. At the moment it’s an absolute mix and a lot of pop which doesn’t sound right,” Jane confesses blushing and apologetic.
Drape one of her scarves around the neck and it’s not difficult to recognise how art is embellished in every fibre of the fabric. She includes Andy Warhol as an influence in the use of colour and countless other artists who go forgotten yet significant to her creative process. Sometimes it’s a perfume packaging and at others an old forgotten photograph. Her collection is young yet mature, bohemian yet restrained. Something like her.
Recognising the challenges of establishing a signature especially with a young brand like Jane Carr, she believes a lot of hard work should be contributed to branding and styling. “It’s about the whole thing, the little things that make up a picture. It is challenging to stay relevant, but you have to stay true to your feelings and what you think is right but also learning to take criticism. You can’t have your head in the sand and be stubborn too much.”
With an ambitious vision to venture into ready-to-wear in the near future, we only hope Jane Carr continues to drape it out with the perfect tune! Because we’ll be listening…