After being returned to its rightful place on the runway following SS13’s static presentation detour, Fashion East was back in action with a bang on Monday afternoon at The Tanks at Tate Modern. Lulu Kennedy was in the front row beaming with pride, and the Fashion East founder had every reason to be happy. This felt like one of the most spirited line-ups in recent seasons, strong personalities united by their Converse footwear, and infused with the kind of contagious energy and bonkers sense of mischief that is at the core of London’s DNA.
First up was Claire Barrow, whose second collection with Fashion East shook the foundations of familiar objects and narratives, set to Wire's 'Pink Flag.' Found objects like dolls and bowling balls were turned into handbags, and Barrow took something as intimately identifiable as the 1947 New Look silhouette and transported it into an exciting new conversation. The articulated lines were softened in velvet or leather, splattered with her beautiful handpainted artwork. In place of a wide-brimmed hat, a lampshade was pulled firmly over the head, heightening the sense of familiar unfamiliarity.
Blasting Bonnie Tyler – with their stockings around their ankles, and nana housecoats worn over Dream Glow Barbie frosted dresses and clouds of tulle – there was something totally unhinged about Ryan Lo’s pretty in pink girls. A great crumpled and fuzzy candyfloss suit sprouted tufts of Muppet fur, underscoring the wacky vibes.
When Elvis Presley was at the height of his heartthrob fame, the cult of teen idol t-shirts had yet to take off, but Ashley Williams made up for that by plastering his face and name all over her first collection with Fashion East. The Westminster graduate worked an Americana sensibility into her crisp silhouettes and starched shirting, covering her sixties pieces in gleeful ‘Subscribe’ and ‘Celebrate’ statements, teen-zine style.