It's the Friday before Katie Eary's show, art directed by Fabien Kruszelnicki and Dazed's James West, and the designer is throwing a make-up test for her collection. Strange choice of verb, but the Eary team is a tight-knit bunch of vibrant personalities so inevitably it almost turns into a party. Almost.
Autumn/Winter 12 is all midnight and charred skeleton, an Eary army fixated on the darker side of the fairytale. This is about the evil battalions that threaten both the status quo and a narrative's heroic protagonists
Prosthetic pixie ears are being attached to a chatty model – and the verdict is a resounding yes. "I love it, yes, definitely let's do it," exclaims Eary, eyes lighting up and voice raising an octave. Make-up artist Adam de Cruz and stylist Way Perry agree. In the background smiley, hands-in-the-air 90s anthems are speeding away – we've stumbled across the best net radio station in the world.
Don't be deceived by all this upbeat energy, however: the collection is pitch black. Literally. Eary is a designer known for her exploration of twisted themes, previous collections referencing Irvine Welsh's Marabou Stork Nightmares, Orwell's Animal Farm, Hunter S. Thompson's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. But this is her heaviest yet. There's no regal scarlet, gilding or desert hues here, or the slime green she's quickly made her own. Autumn/Winter 12 is all midnight and charred skeleton, an Eary army fixated on the darker side of the fairytale. This is about the evil battalions that threaten both the status quo and a narrative's heroic protagonists.
Incredible SAGA Furs in fox and raccoon build attitude-laden parkas and ponyskin appears in a coat cut with a skirt shape. A warcoat realised in mock croc has an oversized hood, moulded military shoulders and arms. And luxe utility rucksacks are worn with each look. Texture and surface interplay, with patent leather trousers, black marabou and sheer elements – in black, of course. Whilst hair swathes crystal-encrusted heels (women) as men go pure Warhammer, in custom Air Force Ones.
Exclusive backstage photography edit by Brett Lloyd