Where there are trannies, latex and lace involved at LFW, can Ziad Ghanem ever be too far behind? Not that he should ever stop, of course, as he does them like no-one else can. There’s no use trying to extrapolate trends from a Ziad show, as his preoccupations remain pretty static with every season – sex and fetishism, angels and devils, light, dark and death, mostly, but his work is executed with such originality and staggering couture craftsmanship that it never seems a rehash. Not, in PN’s view, that there is anything wrong with a bit of shock value at LFW (after all, it’s what separates us from the New Yorkers) but Ziad’s favourite taboos are worked through so wholeheartedly and thoroughly that they are almost elevated to the status of art.
This season’s collection took as its inspiration the Polish art film Mother Joan of the Angels. To recap, girl becomes nun, girl meets demon, girl becomes possessed by demon, priest saves girl by condemning himself to damnation. This was conveyed sartorially by exquisite fishtail wedding gowns, Klaus Nomi tributes in wide shouldered Weimar expressionist jumpsuits and sweeping capes that clearly resemble papal robes. Accessories-wise, mantillas, veils, swimming caps, rubber umbrellas and and corsetry all made a triumphant appearance.
Also notable were the models. While several designers have dabbled in using non-traditional faces for their shows, this was almost certainly the only one where every model was mentioned by name on the press release. Still better were the bios – can you imagine a “model, fire performer, dominatrix” ever walking for Burberry? Undisputed star of the evening, however, was the divine Janet Younan, who had the alt-cultural heavyweights of the front row swooning with a single imperious toss of her golden curls. She’s Ziad’s niece and she’s ten years old. Bless.
-Images: POPPR, Photographer: Christopher Dadey