I remember as a child, James always used to enjoy my fragrance early in the mornings. He used to pick me and crush my petals in water to create his very own aqua fragrance. I remember how he used to adorn his friends hats and belts with me.
As he grew older, he started to appreciate me more and more, with the passing of each year, I remember how James used to wait in anticipation for the arrival of spring and for me to bloom. The winter months, that were spent dreaming and longing for my arrival. .
Sometimes, James used to sketch me during the long cold winter mornings just to feel my warmth.
I remember how he admired my opaque white petals, I remember his touch, I remember his presence, I remember his gentleness, I remember his appreciation. I remember the first time he pinned me to his lapel. It was blue velvet and I proudly sat there with my vibrant white petals and richly intoxicating and intense aroma. It was at that moment, I realised the depth of his love for me.
I remember how he told me that I was irresistible for anyone. Both men and women adorn me in some way through James Clarke. He said…you bring purity and elegance in the form of accessories, seduction and lust in the forms of perfumes and fragrances.
I remember the first time James took me to Paris, I was keeping him warm as the lining of his silk blazer and during dinner, I kissed his neck as his favourite perfume.
In New York, I cushioned his feet while he found inspiration during his walk in Central Park and I adorned his chest as a glass pendant during afternoon tea at the Russian Tea Rooms.
I remember how I contributed to the floral arrangements James did for the Queen of England. I remember the care which was taken to make sure I look my best.
I remember the time when he made me into a necklace to adorn one of his models during the final catwalk at Central Saint Martins. I remember how he carefully stitched a few of me to pieces of velvet. I remember how he sprayed me with water like drops of dew to keep me fresh.
I remember how he reconstructed me from silks, chiffons, feathers, pearls and velvets.
I remember... I’m the flower of James Clarke.
A luxury which evoke desires.
A touch of JC spirit, a dash of JC ingenuity, a collection of ideas and sketches together with fabrics, trimmings and finally more than 150 hours of the finest tailoring.
Take a staggering 30-point measurements on the client.
Begin with the sketches, decode the feelings and mood from the time of the sketch.
On the tailoring mannequin, drape the muslin, pin it, shape it, mould it and sculpt it to reconstruct the shape and curves of the sketch. Chalk and cut with the unique and secret process of James Clarke Haute Couture.
Assemble the individually stitched pieces of the garment and pin to form it complete. Pin buttons and clasps to get a feel for the complete design.
Prepare the fabric, lining and trimmings specially selected for this garment along with suitable threads for stitching.
Mark the fabric in lengthwise grain with hand sewn stitches in contrasting thread. Place with precision each of the muslin pieces on to the garment fabric and pin to secure, then outline with chalk. Hand sew thread around each marked piece to highlight the shape and cut.
Assemble the pieces and baste them by hand, staying true to the nature of haute couture. Check for fit, flow, proportion and harmony. Fly it to anywhere in the world for the first fitting with the client.
Make any slight alterations during the fitting process, remaining faithful to the James Clarke process. Finish with making any adjustments to the length, the lapels, the sleeve on the shoulders by securing a cigarette (a narrow 2 cm piece of fabric) ensuring craftsmanship of the highest quality. Every detail matters even when it’s hidden. Finish sewing by hand, keeping true to the unique nature of haute couture.
Add trimmings, cut the fabric for buttonholes and hand embroider them one by one for a perfect button fit. Apply the brand label alongside a discreet order number label to verify its authenticity. Spare buttons are stitched discreetly inside the garment.
Gently wrap the garment in tissue paper and attach the certificate of authenticity as a one-off haute couture piece.
Because it intensifies colour, it is the depth and darkness of character. Black is the distinct markings of the stealthy snow leopard. Black, for James Clarke, accentuates the beauty of elegance, black, surpasses all.
Because it is purity and enhances beauty. White, because to James, it is memories of the fragrant white flowers that grew in his childhood garden, it evokes memories of time. White, because of the white marble used to construct the most beautiful monument of love… The Taj Mahal. White is the soft snowy wilderness where the majestic snow leopard roams. White because it illuminates the delicate strands of James’ pearls, which adorn each JC collection. And white, because it represents the purest of cotton and silkiest satin sheets when it is time to relax.
Because it is the colour of passion, the colour of the fire which smoulders within. Red, because it represents courage and a daringly beautiful feeling of danger. Red, because it reminds James of vibrant cathedral roses growing in the garden. Red, because it evokes curiosity, inviting one to get lost in lust. Red, because it highlights the need for danger, the need for stimulation, the need for lust.
Because it represents both the genuine and the imitation. Genuine gold that is the family treasures handed down to James and forever cherished. Imitation gold which James re-invents time and again to adorn the clasps and buckles of his garments and exquisite costume jewellery in each collection. Gold, because of the religious and cultural festivals which intertwine his childhood. Gold, because it envelops the wearer with a sun-kissed glow and seduces the voyeur. Gold, because it dares to compliment the unity between black and white. Gold…the signature of James Clarke.
The contrast of his lucky numbers 5 & 9; together making 14. The contrast of odds over even, just like the masculine over the feminine.
The contrast of his resting space where only crisp white linens are permitted and his creative space which is surrounded by colour.
The softness of the traditional womenswear fabrics lends themselves beautifully to create JC menswear. The contrast of the feminine living within the masculine.
The contrast of using imitation gold trimmings on fabrics made with real gold.
The contrast of using precious pearls to hang pendants of resin and glass.
The contrast of using complex techniques to create the elegance of simplicity in design.
The contrast of his work ethics. Sundays, the only day he doesn’t work, yet it is the day when ideas are sketched in his mind.
The contrast of his playfulness. Heaven is where he’d want to dress the angels. Hell is where he’d want to party with the devil.
The refusal to choose between style and what is fashionable. There is only one choice and that is to always be stylish.
The contrast between style and comfort. The strong belief that style and comfort goes hand in hand. One cannot wear something to its full potential if one is not comfortable in it.
The contrast of mixing opposites. Velvet with tweed, feminine with masculine, the woman within the man and vice versa. Daring for the two extremes to entwine in perfect harmony. That is where danger lives… that is where it should be conquered.
The contrast of his character lives in the space between many emotions. Elegant yet nonchalant, moody yet happy, romantic yet seductive, traditional yet contemporary, sombre yet fiery.
The contrast within his perfumes reside in the secrets of the many florals, one is unable to identify single flowers, it’s the combination that seduces the mind.
The contrast of giving everyone the permission to be anything and everything they want while wearing James Clarke.
Once upon a time there was a little boy who dreamt about music, fashion and fragrances. Music was his first passion and he studied from an early age. Growing up in India, he lived amongst a kaleidoscope of colour, his world was draped with the most gorgeous silks and an abundance of opulent precious stone and gold jewellery, all housed in breath-taking architecture and scented with the most beautiful fragrant flowers.
This was the beginning. After moving back to England as a teenager, he graduated from university with business management before pursuing his passion for fashion at the prestigious Central Saint Martins in London. He started to experiment with fabrics and pushed the boundaries to mix the traditional with the contemporary. Drawing from his childhood experiences of decadent fabrics and rich floral fragrances, he was soon creating extraordinary garments of impeccable craftsmanship. The more he learnt, the more he experimented.
Travelling the world for his passion, from Miami to New York, Paris to Milan and India to Russia, all the while being mentored by one of the legends of the industry. It was a period of great learning, a period of experiencing the familiar and the new. It was a period of awakening a deeper sense of urgency to create his own label. To create haute couture, to evoke desires… and create fragrances to evoke sensuality…
His own style began to emerge and take form. His colour palette began to appear more prominently. His sense of harmony began to mature. His unique cutting techniques started to flow. With the help of his mentor, he invented his very own method of arranging visuals and creating mood boards, drawing inspiration from everything he saw and experienced.
Once upon a time, the boy became a man… A man who lives to create the extraordinary.
And that man is James Clarke.