Yesterday Fashion East proved that the London talent pool is brimming with some of the most forward thinking minds of today. More 1960's 'happening' than flat-out fashion show, Fashion East rips up the rulebook by allowing guests to interact with designers and designs – today, to a live soundtrack from Rejjie Snow. This season, Dazed favourite Martine Rose brought underground S&M sex and uncomfortable pairings; Marques'Almeida went on a family roadtrip to the Grand Canyon with a bunch of moody teenagers in tow; Edward Crutchley meshed the old, batic-style fabrics of Japan and Indonesia with contemporary design; Alan Crocetti bought the emergency room with him and Shaun Samson surprised us all by putting in a guest appearance with a sneak peak of his pre-collection.
A lone model, draped in heavy leather with a-size-too-big tracksuit bottoms, wedged between two Greek statues gave off an awkward mixture of sexual undertones and unconventional textile pairings. Flyers plastered with homo-erotic passion and sex chains were thrown haphazardly aross the floor. Today was a warm up for things to come, as Rose prefers to play off the fashion grid – with her full collection dropping in September, watch this space.
Back working alongside dance-flyer archivist Steve Terry who produced her flyers for last season's show, inspired by time spent as a teenager in London raves, his plethora of imagery provided the backdrop for the collection once again.
Inspired by Mapplethorpe images of the underground S&M scene in 1970’s America, “I was really interested in the risk, you know? It was illegal to be gay then, so there was this whole scene happening and I just found it really, really inspiring. I'm fusing the element of risk and I'm really interested with how things sit very uncomfortably together, which is what I wanted to communicate by fusing leather and sportswear in that really awkward way.
Bored looking Americana denim-clad teenagers with arms crossed and shoulders slumped brought the awkward family vaycay to Fashion East, with Indigo frayed denim hoodies, slouchy sweatshirts and ruffled denim – the pair were inspired by the all American spirit on a recent roadtrip to the Grand Canyon.
The duo have never shied away from their obsession with all things teenage, "We used to shoot everything on my sister when we first started, when she was like, seventeen or sixteen. We used to beg her to do fittings with us, and she would be like, on her phone – the most teenage thing. And she’d always look really bored in the pictures and we got really obsessed with that vibe. If you go through old editions of Dazed, The Face, all you see in streetstyle is like a teenager in jeans and white tshirt, and a leather jacket – that’s it. It wasn’t about construction or being flashy."
Girls v boys:
"When we started men’s we didn’t even want to call it men’s at that point, but we had guys saying, 'We want clothes as well. We want our own t-shirts, and shorts and tracksuit trousers'. For us, it’s not about being a full-blown menswear collection, it’s about being an extension of the women’s; an extension of the same vibe. The vibe is very important for us. We didn’t want it to be about the clothes only, we wanted it to be about that whole atmosphere – brought into menswear.”
Warped in a time machine, old world East meets new world West in a mash-up of traditional and new techniques and textiles. A fabric prodigy, Crutchley is also Textile Consultant for Louis Vuitton Homme, Richard Nicoll and Japanese menswear brand Jevoni.
Old world textiles and patterns merged with a new twists; a new technique of double faced polyester and digital printed jerseys were layered under traditional Japanese batik kimonos, which switched up traditionalist silk for new-world jersey. The jewellery cast hats on the models heads? "This old guy in Indonesia made them in his sitting room. I was like 'this is really cool'".
East meets West:
"I went on a research trip to Indonesia and as soon as I saw that sort of graphic sensibility that they had I loved it! I was like, 'I've got to make clothes like this!' So really, it was all informed by the fabric, the textures and the design, and taking that and re-working it into new techniques. I'm really into that sort of artisan work; reinventing it and trying to push it in new directions".
Roughed up once-tough boys licking their wounds; knuckle dusters emulated boxer's tape and nose bandages made of silver plastered black and blue bruised faces.
Crocetti was inspired by the reckless; skate boarders, emergency rooms and David Fincher's 1999 film, Fight Club. Titled ‘Fixation’, the man who brought the gag back for Bobby Abley in AW14 took plaster casts, neck braces and bandages out of A&E.
Pleasure spiked pain:
"The whole thing is about fixation, like, break it and fix it. I took the bandages and the bruises because fixation is also an obsession, like people that are obsessed with things like skateboarding. I met these guys who loved skateboarding so much that they didn't care how bad they are going to get hurt because there's always a way to fix it – it's all kind of like an emergency room but in jewellery form."
Boy scouts telling stories and playing shadow puppets around a campfire in luxe printed scarves, the designer's signature felting and mink lanyards. Samson was a surprise addition to Fashion East this season and gave us a sneak peak of a pre-collection ahead of his #BEENTRILL# collaboration, launching at Harvey Nicholls.
Illustrator Josh Gurrie collaborated with Samson on the prints, made from stickers placed on a sheet of white paper and blown up, abstracted and printed onto felting vests and across silk neckerchiefs.
"We were looking at camping, like, a summer camp. We were thinking of things that we'd use for survival but that was too literal, so we thought a lanyard would be a good thing that you would have. Maybe your keys, maybe your pocket knife, maybe a cell phone, maybe.. a pacifier. Is that what you call them here, pacifiers?"
See highlights from Fashion East's SS15 presentation, sponsored by Red Bull Catwalk Studio and soundtracked by Rejjie Snow, below:
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