… Four ones to watch; Jayne Pierson, Luke Rooney, Timothy Bouyez-Forge and Laura Thiess.
Runway shows set to the sounds of a live band are usually the reserve of the really big players, Burberry, Giles Deacon et al, however the vibe at On/Off London on Thursday night was half fashion show, half gig, with the audience packed into the basement of Phonica records, most standing, and the punky tones of Glaswegian songstress Lucia Fontaine filling the space.
The show was energetic and (quelle horreur!) fun. Good natured jostling and an appearance from possibly the youngest high fashion model on the circuit, a little girl of maybe eight (forgive me if we’ve grossly underaged you little girl, should you be reading this) rocked a look with more swag than we could ever hope to achieve. There was heart and soul to this show, which was styled by Kylie Griffiths, the queue was phenomenal to get in – we very nearly didn’t – and it was even broadcast across Carnaby Street, opening it out to a wide audience of shoppers, a great way of spreading the word about the four up and coming designers.
Pierson is something of an On/Off veteran, having showcased with the company since 2009. This season her collection was print focused; what looked like hand painted leather in primary colours, reminiscent of Noel Fielding’s haphazard art. The surfaces were textured by the flaking of the paint, giving a sort of DIY impression – not a bad thing! Whilst the printed pieces were good, the garments made from netting were excellent: voluminous sleeves and sexy veils combined with Edwardian-esque collars and fishnet socks, there was a perfect balance of the conservative with the titillating and it was these details that made the collection.
Frivolous fun and fantasy, Rooney’s SS17 collection was a festival of texture and surface detail. Mirror work and coloured rhinestones in ice cream patterns certainly made this an eyecatching collection, but it was the accessories that really made this collection sing. Whilst the frayed hems and cuffs on denim shift dresses were contemporary and well finished, the excellent styling of retro sunglasses, pom-pom anklets, metallic headdresses and statement earrings elevated it to another level. The makeup was also very well suited.
Like the Christopher Kane gel clutch of 2011 come to life, Bouyez-Forge had experimented with thick cuts of plastic for his SS17 collection. Metallic PVC was softened with ruched trousers – which incidentally would we think, sell really well – and the whole thing had the effect of a kind of space mermaid. The colours were somewhat random and the amount of shine perhaps a little excessive, but the skill was evident and some re-worked Dunlop t-shirts really helped ground the collection.
The Central Saint Martins graduate showed her collection on an installation of mannequins rather than on stomping models, a far better way to view her deeply intricate knitwear. Delicately webbed designs felt very early twentieth century and the layering of lace pointwork and wool flowers seemed to take its inspiration from hosiery patterns.