As Boy London launch their latest line, we chat to its Head Designer, Melody Maker.
We all know about Boy London: its iconic eagle logo and instantly recongisable type face have been a cornerstone of British youth culture since before most of us were born. Still, you probably don’t know the whole story, and given that the label is launching a retrospective new line called BOY (all caps please), there’s no better time to fill you in. 40 years ago this year, Stephane Raynor opened his BOY store on the Kings Rd to packed crowds day in, day out. As punk began to dissipate, BOY became the epicenter of the New Romantic movement that was to follow – with Billy Idol working the till and Phillip Salon on tea duties, is it any surprise that BOY would go on to be the de facto uniform of London’s orginial club gang, the Blitz Kids, as well as a host of legendary creatives including Warhol and Madonna?
As the 80s rolled on, BOY became infamous for their wild catwalk shows, their Parisian nightclub, Club BOY, and, of course, their much imitated t shirts, which were then adopted as the tribal singifiers of the 90s Ibiza explosion and Acid House crowd. The brand may have quietened down for a while in the 00s – remaining an important underground symbol and a second-hand gem – but by 2009 it had returned, newly invigorated and welcomed with open arms by tastemakers and globally renowned stores alike: Selfridges and Collete are just two of the many important hot spots to support the brand in recent years.
And the next chapter? BOY by Boy London, a collection that will honor the original styles and silhouettes devised and designed by the label’s original creators, Raynor and John Krivine. The BOY collection is militantly all black and includes iconic styles like the Para Shirts famously worn by Boy George, a quilted bomber, and ‘bondage trousers’ with strapping and original D rings, all accessorised with customised Gibson Mersey last EVA wedges. What’s more, the label will be unveiling the first of its four collaborations at LC:M next week as part of its year long anniversary festivities. To celebrate the return of a legend, we dive into the collection with its Head Designer, Melody Maker.
Boy by Boy London is all about celebrating 40 years of Boy: so what’s your favourite of the label’s many iconic pop culture moments?
Boy London has a rich and intriguing history that has always fascinated me… From Warhol, to Madonna, Punks through to New Romantics, club kids to fashionistas, all have been emblazoned with the famous BOY logo. I feel privileged to be a part of the movement and take inspiration from old and new.
There are some typically Boy pieces in the collection, but if you could only have one, which would it be and why?
My favourite pieces would have to be the outerwear Bondage range from the AW16 collection. I particularly like the jackets that come in a bomber and long line coat. It looks great and is practical for winter with a shearling under layer and quilted body
Apart from in the designs, how else does the new line honour the legacy of Stephane Raynor and John Krivine?
Last season was very much an archival collection paying homage to BOY LONDON. This season we have taken a new direction offering the designs to a modern demographic. Although the cuts and style have progressed, the legacy of the anarchist attitude still holds strong in BOY by BOY.
What can you tell us about the upcoming collaboration at LC:M and the celebrations of Boy by Boys influence in general?
This is the first season we are showcasing our collection to an audience through the British Fashion Council. I am grateful to be part of London Collections Men as it has launched the careers of so many young British talent. We are lucky enough to be on the BFC’s event schedule and doing our debut presentation which highlight BBB’s new direction.
Obviously keeping Boy’s heritage alive is important to you, but where is the new line going next and how is it staying fresh and progressive?
This collection is all about personal freedom, something that I feel in this day and age is compromised. My designs are always reacting to the social and political issues within the world we live. The SS17 range has been developed to help the everyday activist use garments which has a focus on militaristic tailoring and functionality.
Lastly, with music so important to BOY by Boy’s identity, what’s playing in the studio while you’re designing?
Fashion and music go hand in hand; one evokes inspiration from the other. Music is very important in the way it informs how I design. This season we are working with FKA TWIGS’ producer- CYAN so this is what I’ve been listening to over and over (and driving the studio mad!) . He is producing the music for our show and will be performing it live on the night.