Fashion: It takes two

Already hailed for their award-winning glamorous eveningwear, fashion designers Pearce Fionda have now created highly desirable daywear. And it's just what Tamsin Blanchard has been waiting for. Styling by Sophia Neophitou. Photographs by Donna Trope

Ladies who lunch and movie stars love Pearce Fionda. They make precisely cut trouser suits (you know the sort - the jacket does more for your figure than a whole month of dieting and working out) and their bias-cut evening dresses - slick and sleek and ideal for the Oscars - have been worn by Iman, Francesca Annis and Elisabeth Shue.

However, I, like many women, must confess that I am not much of a glamour puss. In fact, up until this season there was not much I could have worn from their mainline collections for an informal lunch without looking a little over-dressed. The designers were, after all, nominated for the Glamour Award at the British Fashion Awards in 1997.

But spring/summer '99 is a breakthrough for the designers, because Pearce Fionda have discovered daywear. Yes, there are still drop-dead gorgeous silk columns and tailored two-pieces (and the collection will continue to make waves in LA), but now there is also the perfect skirt - flatteringly cut and knee-length; the best plain black trousers; and simple tops. These are the sorts of pieces normally associated with American designers such as Calvin Klein or Donna Karan. They have been designed to make your life easier and smarter. "For the first time," say the designers, "this is a collection from which women can build a wardrobe."

Pearce Fionda don't take all the credit themselves. "Our marketing director has influenced us a lot. After selling our collection the first time, she realised that there were a hell of a lot of potential customers out there who want daywear who we just weren't catering for."

Andrew Fionda and Ren Pearce met on the fashion degree course at Trent Polytechnic. After graduating from the MA degree at Central St Martins, Pearce worked with John Galliano in Paris and Roland Klein in London, while Fionda, who graduated from the RCA, was employed on a commercial collection in Hong Kong.

Their debut as Pearce Fionda coincided with the explosion of new talent in London in the early Nineties. From the start, the pair offered a different stance to the other, often self-consciously avant-garde, young designers. They set out to make wearable clothes, rather than clothes that would make a statement. In 1995 Pearce Fionda won the Lloyds Bank Fashion Awards New Generation prize, with the bonus of sponsorship to stage a catwalk show at London Fashion Week. The following year, they travelled to Istanbul to be presented with the title of Young Designers of the World.

But the journey from fledgling to serious designers has not been without its struggles. In 1996, despite their impressive awards, Pearce Fionda were considering throwing in the towel. Cashflow problems were making it almost impossible to continue. But at the eleventh hour, a lucrative deal with Debenhams - which had the foresight to see the designers' potential in the wider market - saved them from the abyss. The Pearce II Fionda line, launched exclusively for the store, gave the pair a bigger audience than they ever knew existed. Since then, every collection, from their evening dresses, swim- and cruisewear to the most recent ventures into shoes and sunglasses for Debenhams, has been a winner. The contract has benefited everyone, allowing the designers freedom to let their creative and perfectionist streaks run wild on their own line, and giving women who would not normally be able to afford Pearce Fionda a taste of glamour. "Doing Debenhams has liberated us to do what we want for the main line," the pair state. "I've personally spent a month on a single jacket," explains Pearce. "We're still such a small team, nothing escapes our attention. It's practically a couture service."

Although Pearce Fionda say they are far from being a fully fledged business, they are now well on their way. They have a manufacturer in Turin, called Approhodo, which talent-scouted them three seasons ago at London Fashion Week, along with Fabio Piras, and Copperwheat Blundell. "Italian quality is just fantastic and half the price of that in England," says Fionda.

In just three weeks, London Fashion Week kicks off and Pearce Fionda will present their line for autumn/winter 99/2000. It promises to continue evolving with pieces that look clean and modern. The current collection has already moved in that direction. Start shopping now

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: 1st Line Technical Support Engineer

    £19000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT and Telecoms company ar...

    Recruitment Genius: Assistant Manager - Visitor Fundraising

    £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Visitor Fundraising Team is responsi...

    Recruitment Genius: Developer

    £30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

    Recruitment Genius: Trainee Sales Account Manager - OTE £25,000

    £15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing, ambitious, en...

    Day In a Page

    War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
    Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

    'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

    Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
    Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

    BBC heads to the Californian coast

    The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
    Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

    Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

    Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
    Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

    Car hacking scandal

    Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
    10 best placemats

    Take your seat: 10 best placemats

    Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
    Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

    Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

    Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
    Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

    Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

    Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
    Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

    Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

    The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
    Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

    Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

    His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
    Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

    Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

    Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future
    Berlusconi's world of sleaze: The astonishing lifestyle once enjoyed by Italy's former PM

    Berlusconi's world of sleaze

    The astonishing lifestyle once enjoyed by Italy's former PM
    Disney plans galactic domination with endless Star Wars spin-offs

    Disney plans galactic domination with endless Star Wars spin-offs

    Films and theme parks are just the beginning. Disney believes its control of the now decades-old franchise can bring in merchandise and marketing millions for years to come
    Could the golden age of the gaming arcade ever be revived in the era of the Xbox?

    Could gaming arcades be revived?

    The days when coin-ops were the only way to play the latest video games are gone. But a small band of enthusiasts are keeping the button-pushing dream alive
    Edinburgh Fringe 2015: The 'tampon tax' has inspired a new wave of female comedians to reclaim period jokes

    Heard the one about menstruation?

    Yes, if you have been at the Fringe, where period pieces are taking centre stage