Alice Archer Is a Name to Know at London Fashion Week

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Alice Archer Is a Name to Know at London Fashion Week

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LONDON — There are few emerging fashion designers who can say they have dressed both Sean Combs and Pippa Middleton. But Alice Archer’s intricate digital embroidery and prints that meld technology and biology to captivating effect attract a broad range of clients.

Why will be clear this London Fashion Week, as Ms. Archer, 32, prepares to show her latest collection in a presentation on Sept. 16. According to Marina Larroudé, the fashion director at Barneys New York, “she is definitely a young designer to watch.” Ms. Larroudé selected Ms. Archer to participate in a Barneys window display in January highlighting the best new British talent.

Speaking softly from behind a cloud of chestnut hair, Ms. Archer said her growing profile “is equal parts overwhelming and exciting.” It has included a special commission for the 2018 “Alice in Wonderland”-themed Pirelli calendar (she created the voluminous, tangerine-hued coat worn by Whoopi Goldberg as the Royal Duchess).

Ms. Archer, who grew up in the Surrey countryside at a Christian conference center run by her father, embroidered artwork for the artist Tracey Emin for eight years while completing her studies at Goldsmiths, University of London, and the Royal College of Art. She then assisted the designer Dries Van Noten, before introducing her label in 2014 with support from Simon Burstein, son of the Browns boutique founder Joan Burstein.

The small basement studio where Ms. Archer and one full-time assistant create samples is beneath Mr. Burstein’s boutique, The Place London, on a well-heeled street in the Paddington neighborhood. Ms. Archer calls him “my fairy godfather.”

In the studio she uses a computer program to map each individual stitch for a piece; as much as a week of computer programming can be required for a single digitized design. The intense work has meant that many of Ms. Archer’s garments have fallen into the evening wear category — with its accompanying high prices. Ms. Middleton, for example, wore an emerald green silk cocktail dress with an oversized embroidered flower on the skirt, which retails for around $1,500, to a glamorous wedding in Ireland in July; the magenta kimono-style jacket that Mr. Combs wore on a red carpet last year costs $2,572.

This season — Ms. Archer’s fourth on the London fashion calendar — heralds the designer’s attempt to use a variety of techniques and materials to create prints that mimic her intricate embroidery, but make her work more affordable. Prices will start at $700 (but still will rise to as much as $4,600).

“I’m using lots of prints in this collection, prints that have been made from complicated processes to give them as much depth and luxury as my embroideries,” she said.

Ms. Archer began the collection, inspired by summer fruit, with three pieces of embroidered fabric, each measuring about 10 square feet. The embroidery, completed in white, was printed over with photographs of fruits, infusing the fabrics with vivid colors. The pieces were sent to a photography studio to be shot in high detail, the images then transformed into prints that could be applied to a variety of silks.

Standout styles include a checked lavender sleeveless A-line dress, with a cascade of three-dimensional blackberries and strawberries dangling like fringe from a matching bag; a gingham gown with cherries spilling down the front and a three bows on the back; and a royal blue kimono jacket decorated with hand-painted lemons.

“I have so much ambition for this brand,” Ms. Archer said. “More than anything now, I just want it to grow and people to get to know the work I do.” Out of the basement, and onto the front lines.

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