Portrait Of A Loverboy
It began with a CSM degree and an east London clubnight, got transported to the ICA for a morning rave, then enjoyed three seasons sharing catwalk space with Lulu Kennedy’s other hot picks as part of Fashion East and Topman’s MAN showcase: this season Charles Jeffrey LOVERBOY has taken centre stage with its first solo show. Titled Portrait of a LOVERBOY, yesterday’s performance (because a Charles Jeffrey catwalk always has the skill and attitude of a real performance), the Scottish designer performed some character analysis, sending out a series of distinctive individuals.
A key ingredient of Jeffrey’s label is an ability to cleverly reference the past – Victoriana gets thrown up often – and make it modern, fresh, exciting, genuinely different even. Rejecting the 90s trend that his peers have long clung to (sartorially at least, Saturday’s finale to the Happy Monday’s “Step On” was a total joy), his designs instead read as exaggerated interpretations of punk and club kid culture. For SS18 there were nods too, to contemporary mainstream culture (itself adopted from subcultures of the past): a maroon bomber jacket boasted a skirt and cloth covered buttons, while look 14 (a Wonderland fave), saw “twins” stride by in trousers that weren’t a million miles away from American Apparel’s semi-iconic disco pants.
While dancers from Theo Adams Company were boxed in Barbie pink, primary colours elsewhere featured prominently in the collection – a move away from the moodier palettes that have previously found favour in Jeffrey’s work. A full length coat of bright yellow, tartan suits of red and blue, block coloured pieces and abstract prints all impressed, likewise the faux tabloid tees – displaying that classic red – which spoke of “children high on drink and drugs”. The closing look – a fantastic wedding dress painted with lobsters and scorpions – used white as a canvas to further encourage the playful tones.