The Fashion East installations do a wonderful job of smashing the catwalk’s third wall – these occasions allow for something more intimate and not nearly as sombre as the term ‘installation’ suggests. There is a sense that these designers are extending the space around their clothes and perhaps giving us a sneak peak of the more conceptual process that allows these garments to come into being. It’s situated in a large townhouse off the Mall and just enough of a walk away that you forget about all the hustle and bustle around the LCM headquarters. Welcome to the strange, beautiful and surreal world of Fashion East. Here’s a quick run through of a few of those showing their wares.
Craig’s stark installation consisted of some surprisingly well-smelling straw, on which a wooden structure – not a million miles from a gallows – provided a platform for the model to stand with his face obscured by individually sharpened sticks of wood that created a kind of face lampshade with the potential to impale. This setting added a sinister touch to what could have otherwise been interpreted as a light and summery collection using an exclusively white and crème colour palette. However, when placed in such a striking environment, the collection suddenly revealed it’s darker side. The manipulation of a wide range of materials, including crinkle-washed calico, cotton knitting yarn and screen printed suede, allowed for the colours to escape their own constraints and explore the interplay between light and dark. Such an interplay was highlighted by the presence of an imposing noir prop or ‘monster’ that was made in collaboration with David Curtis Ring – a man gaining plenty of hype in his own right.
Yunus & Eliza
Orlando Higginbottom of Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs fame is having a dander around the hallway that has been taken over by Yunus & Eliza. These two sculptors, designers, jewellers, whatever you want to call them, are showing three intimidatingly gorgeous headdresses – one of which made an appearance on Mr Higginbottom’s album artwork. It’s hard not to feel dwarfed by the presence of these geometric wonders. The scale of the works is ambitious; they exude a kind of inanimate confidence that’s probably something to do with the fact I jotted down the words ‘Labia’ and ‘Royalty’ whilst looking at them. This duo’s popularity looks set to grow exponentially – since we posted about them last year they’ve created a piece for a Hollywood film and acted as technical experts for the Queen’s Jubilee Pageant Boat. Nice.
Maarten Van Der Horst
Models stand purposefully in front of an epilepsy inducing film that jumps between stills from The Wizard of Oz and the Spice Girls seminal video for ‘Say You’ll be There’. This is overlaid with the most fantastically Metal-looking typefaces that are glowing with Van Der Horst’s moniker. A boy and girl with damp heavy hair wear sweaters emblazoned with shiny ‘M’ transfers. Well, at least I think that’s what I saw in the darkness. This installation took an unexpected leap away from Horst’s current crop of sunny and tropical designs to a darker and altogether more exciting place.
Ok, so these models were sitting on a giant fluorescent snake cut in two. Dressed in the world’s most incredible prints that, when clashed, made for the schizophrenic and superb. Giant lobsteresque creepy crawlies sat beside a disturbed variation on the TV test card. The collection is apparently a homage to Peckham and the eccentric British seaside. Really though, it’s a homage to everything awesome, demonically possessed and inspiring.
William Richard Green
Once again a LCM designer attempts to take a sideways look at what makes this country, this time by deconstructing and adapting British military uniform. Presented on a lush green pasture the collection only breaks monochrome form to indulge in the olive greens. Again, like with Craig Green, a collection with undoubtedly playful signifiers like foliage and polka dots turns out to possess a darker underbelly apparent through the army-like utility of the coats and the other hints of Green’s inspiration. Ultimately though, this sportswear is just lovely. Although born from an ‘anti-postcard view of Britain’, this collection is definitely one to metaphorically stick on the fridge.
Words – Suzie McCracken
Photos – Laura Lewis