Disco warriors, outer space and hospital cleaner uniforms stop the traffic at Fashion East SS17.
The adorable colour explosion that is Matty Bovan has finally shown his first collection under his own name for SS17. Thank god for that! His fierce models strutted down the runway looking like the coolest party animals out there. It was an homage to the incredible creativity of club kids, pulling together anything and everything to create a fabulous outfit. There were sequins, there was glitter, nets, tassels and charms dangling from every possible surface. There were girls who looked like mermaids just washed out of a party sea, iridescent shell embellishments still attached to their outfits. The garments were shredded, hanging off almost, there was plastic and reflective tape, hand-painted surfaces, earrings that looked like they’ve been made out of play-dough… anything you can imagine, really. It was a masterclass in customisation, making do with whatever you own and getting your friends to help out. Tatty Devine worked with Bovan on the plastic earrings collab, a match made in heaven, there were bags by Coach and sunnies by Linda Farrow all customised by the designer himself, and even clay jewellery made by his mum. It was all hands on deck for SS17, but it just goes to show what you can create by being resourceful and imaginative. At times, those who spend crazy cash on their collections actually make them quite alien and artificial, but Bovan made his girls into those everyone wants to be friends with. A bit wild, a bit chaotic and unexpected, but so, so much fun!
For her second show under the roof of Fashion East, Amie Robertson looked to the outer space, alien life and what would happen if we came to contact with the otherworldly elements. Drawing inspiration from her terrifying dreams of the planet being consumed by toxic, evil plants, the collection sees delicate, Swarovski crystal flowers budding and sprawling across garments, consuming them more and more as the show progresses, until the takeover is complete in the final look, where very little but flower forms scattered across a mesh, long-sleeved dress cover the model. The dark theme is punctured by the use of venomous shades of greens and purples, suggesting the hazardous nature of these plants, but are also reminiscent of the various chemicals and potions scientists will use in a desperate attempt to prevent this sinister plant apocalypse in Robertson’s dream. The lab coats these scientists would wear also inspired the garments for SS17. The first half of the collection saw heavy-duty leather skirts, bomber jackets, opaque blouses, wool dresses and duster coats. While apparently protected, zips down the front of skirts (a genius idea!) came undone to expose skin, making the models vulnerable to the being possessed by the plants. Then, more and more skin was shown, silver hot pants and light lace dresses walking down the runway, clothes slowly disintegrating, the model population falling under the spell of the alien form. If the space invasion is this beautiful, and if we can wear the dangling, blingy star earrings, what’s there to worry about?
Richard Malone’s stripy garments are unmistakable. There was, of course, more of them for SS17. Triggered by his interest in the working class stereotypes, the uniforms worn by hospital cleaners and factory workers informed his new collection. The blue colour of NHS uniforms as well as the bright orange, yellow and green tones of Malone’s garments screamed of construction sites and garbage men. While originally designed for people to blend in and to know their position within their workplace as well as for others to instantly recognise their profession, for SS17, Malone makes the invisible stand out and become individual. The uniforms are refashioned as perfectly tailored trousers and cycling shorts, cut away tops, mini dresses and evening-wear-ready skirts. Workwear shirts come in rich, silky fabric, looking more like expensive pjs, while aprons make for amazing, button-down dress coats. The attention to detail, such as the snap fasteners holding together straps, the breast and kangaroo pockets seen on hospital tunics make the collection totally brilliant. Then there are the sculptural pieces. Twisted and pulled around models’ bodies into otherworldly, avant-garde shapes, Malone has ensured that working class uniform will never be seen as boring and unworthy of attention any longer. What makes his work even more remarkable is its ability to transform depending on the wearer. Not following the status quo with instagram-mable pieces (though instagram will be full of this!) and its one-dimension aspect, he plays with the garments, fully exposing the backs and adding clip-ons that can be used to fit the clothes differently. Malone really thinks about his woman, how she feels, different body shapes as well as the wider aspect of his clothing and its message. And for that, we salute him.