Fashion East Delivers Another Crop of Cool Kids [LFW]
Since 2000, British non-profit Fashion East has discovered and showcased some of the raddest emerging designers coming out of London. Each season, Fashion East features a cast of young designers in a fully produced runway show as part of London Fashion Week. It’s an event that’s gotten serious buzz for incubating some of the most innovative new talent (designer and club-kid denizen Charles Jeffrey is one of their poster kids). Last weekend, Fashion East presented a quartet of emerging designers in a wild soiree held in the basement of the Tate. Known as the Tate Tanks, the Tate’s basement consists of a series of enormous industrial subterranean cylinders. Read: “secret” party aesthetics. The night was full of exploratory maximalism with an anti-perfectionist, out-of-system ethos. Shots from Fashion East’s Instagram depict a hallucinatory event in which patterns, textiles, and performed identities clashed and mingled in geographically and temporally re-mixed looks. The event was certainly an enactment of the post-taste mood that’s settled into the fashion world this past year. We get the feeling that young designers like the four showcased here—Matty Bovan, ASAI, Mimi Wade, and Supriya Lele—are ushering in a new era of fashion that’s having fun taking shots at the idea of “luxury,” and favoring mashup over cohesive trends.
CSM graduate Matty Bovan’s gotten a lot of noise this past year for his anti-aesthetic aesthetics, with work that highlights tactile craftiness and excess that takes serious pleasure in itself. For the Fashion East A/W ’17 show last weekend, Bovan (who has participated in Fashion East before), sent out a parade of dystopian camp that somehow still felt restrained, cohesive, and smart. According to Bovan, Bladerunner and Alien were sources of inspiration behind this collection, which also featured medieval iconography and sinister symbols from some re-imagined Stone Age. Hand-customized bags were paired with chunky homemade sculpted jewelry and fat knits belted with DayGlo plastics. His work is a trip and also a premonition.
Next up was ASAI: a fellow CSM grad, the designer worked for Yeezy before embarking on his own line. For the East show, his press release doubled as a Chinese takeout menu, setting the tone for a collection that poked at the re-articulation of Chinese culture in the West. His designs foregrounded mishaps and misrepresentation—in cultural translation and also in the fashion pipeline, somewhere between design and production. Looks played with fraying and disintegrating fabric, and were also intentionally non-cohesive, with a structured blazer and white parka cropping up amid more organic forms that nodded to hippie-chic looks circa the early aughts.
Mimi Wade also returned for a second Fashion East, this year with a collection titled “Dial M For Mimi”. With work featuring ultra femme boudoir details that felt cartoon-y or like kitschy doll clothes, enmeshed with cute heavy-handed Pink Panther vibes, hers was another collection that seemed to strike up a self-conscious conversation with taste. In a palette of soft pinks, browns, and avocado greens, Wade’s collection feels like an intentional non-answer to whatever’s trending, and instead foregrounds humor and gloriously junky Americana.
A recent graduate from Royal College of Art, Supriya Lele’s East collection interfaced her Indian and British cultural identity in the most department store-friendly looks of the night. Latex, silks, and sheer pull-on stilettos that felt really Kardashian became interesting combined with more traditional Indian silhouettes. Her work is autobiographical and also feels highly conceptual, with a subtle interplay referential not only to her heritage, but also to class signifiers: looks that bear witness to the intersection of Instagram-model-fast-fashion and masterful textile manipulation.
Peep the slideshow above for a full recap of the night’s greatest hits.
Images via Vogue.com
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