There will be no gentle easing in to London Fashion Week as long as Blow PR continue to throw their schedule-opening exhibitions/parties. This season the team installed their crop of avant garde up-and-comers in a four floor high town house in Shoreditch – complete with double bed and bath tub – a venue which was offered as an after thought by the photographic gallery they originally approached.
Up the first flight of stairs was Blow-show regular Jane Bowler, with a bevy of sea-side space-age sirens inspired by Atargatis (the mythological mermaid) and Barbarella, the sexy Sixties superhero. The collection referenced icon of that decade Paco Rabanne’s chainmail dresses, but in 2012 the hundreds of linked circular discs were rendered in latex and had a distinct fetish edge, signifying their kinship with the other designers on show. The four looks, including floor-length gowns and a hot pants and crop top combo, demonstrated a progression of Bowler’s aesthetic from previous seasons and marked the designer out as the most refined of the group.
It was, however, the accompanying accessories by recent graduate Lauren Moore which really caught the eye. Almost like rudimentary Proenza Schouler in style with their mish-mash of prints and colours, the clutches, satchels and backpacks complimented Bowler’s dresses in shades of orange and teal, overlaid with a cut-out silver or lime green and finished with leather tassels and studs.
Across the way, Shara Hayz’s futuristic clubwear largely failed to capture the imagination – despite the creative headdresses and wigs by Zara Vernazza – with the exception of a brilliant monochrome hooded cape spider-webbed in chains. Onwards and upwards to the booze and paper-eyelash bars, and a display wall of Charlotte Valkeniers’ work; twisted and knotted black leather alongside silver clasped and Swarovski encrusted necklaces and bracelets. The choker styles made the biggest impact, and despite being ‘tribal-influenced’, the collection managed to avoid the usual associated clichés.
It was fittingly on the top floor that this fashion house party reached its wildest peak, in a space shared by latex-chav-chic purveyors MEAT and unisex club kid dresser, Signor Jester. Bizarrely – and yet somehow predictably – inspired by Herod’s biblical infantogenocide, the Signor Jester collection of slashed, floor-length PVC clubwear didn’t bowl me over, although the towering platforms and consequently toppling models almost literally did.
For their collection ‘4D FANTASY’, the brilliantly named MEAT designers Alis Pelleschi and Boadicea Claridge had their friends and mostly non-professional models recline and gyrate on a double bed, the duvet emblazoned with the motif ‘3D SLUT’. Their latex bodysuit, thong bikini, pleated-skirt skater dress and baggy menswear featured bulldog motifs and was accented with blingy fake designer jewellery sourced by the designers to evoke the UK Garage raves, sports centres and markets of their youth. For their edginess and sex appeal, but also their sense of playfulness and humour, the MEAT kids were the coolest crowd on the night.
Words and images by Charlotte Gush