How Charles Jeffrey is bringing the club back to the catwalk

Charles Jeffrey’s LOVERBOY is electrifying menswear with performance, posing and attitude – and after that, there’s the clothes

FashionFeature
Pin It
charles jeffrey MAN AW16
Backstage at Charles Jeffrey, MAN AW16Photography Daisy Walker

In terms of a line between Charles Jeffrey: LOVERBOY the collection, and Charles Jeffrey’s LOVERBOY club night at VF Dalston, there isn’t one. A visit to the CSM MA Menswear graduate’s studio earlier this week revealed his friends (and club attendees) lending a hand in every way they could. This label exists because of the foot-to-the-floor freedom they have when dressing up for a night’s dancing. Going out is the reason to do it and why it looks like it does. 

Fashion and nightlife go hand-in-hand in London’s style history, of course. The performance artists Trojan and Leigh Bowery are two examples. Their impact would go beyond themselves and their friends to become names referenced in books, stuck on moodboards and very Googleable four decades later. There is something unique about this city that makes the runaways – for it is those who arrive in the capital and brilliantly invent themselves – think: ‘more make-up, knock four inches off the hem and accessorise with a pint of 1664 and a 5am curfew’ (other beers are available).Charles Jeffrey’s LOVERBOY is in this great lineage, and it’s not been seen in menswear before in such an audacious way. Wild and hyperstyled as it is, there were loads of beautifully made clothes on his MAN catwalk to get pissed and roll around on the floor in, whether you have a rubber snake coiled around your neck or not. (A phenomenal piece of accessorising, Jeffrey put together the looks himself). 

“Wild and hyperstyled as it is, there were loads of beautifully made clothes on his MAN catwalk to get pissed and roll around on the floor in, whether you have a rubber snake coiled around your neck or not”

It was a black and white photograph of a reveller, slumped in a buttoned-up jacket that inspired LOVERBOY’s AW16 ‘drunk’ suiting. The cut of the garment renders it to pull in a particular way. There are pinstripe looks not a million miles away from what the most conservative gent would wear either, though they’d be horrified by (i) the details and (ii) the context.

We’re talking flattened champagne cork-cage chokers, run-over tiaras and a series of out-of con-trol accessories, like sending Stephen King, a minaudière and a giant magnet to the landfill and seeing what happens. All were created by LOVERBOY (the club) regular Jack Appleyard. His ‘Piss Off’ and ‘You Twat’ pochettes were a particular highlight, as they bounded past giant LOVERBOY totems on the catwalk, in collaboration with set supremo Gary Card heightening the posing and performance. 

The looks will become jpeg Top Trumps, a feast for the eyes set to stir emotions over the internet: on Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, the places people converse to share references. We, collectively, crave such uninhibited expression of personality, especially under a Tory government that hacks away at its citizens (which it should be noted Trojan, Leigh Bowery burned heroically under too). They never mechanised their art into a business. But it doesn’t mean that applies to 2016 talent Jeffrey. His vision was presented in the Fashion East and Topman initiative that has launched the careers of Christopher Shannon and Craig Green, giving his squad a hugely prominent stage. If you want to discuss potential then clubbing garb also catalysed one of the greatest designers to-day. 

“We, collectively, crave such uninhibited expression of personality, especially under a Tory government that hacks away at its citizens (which it should be noted Trojan, Leigh Bowery burned heroically under too)”

In the early 80s, when she was tired of the dour mood post-Punk, Malcolm McLaren informed Vivienne Westwood of the New Romantics. A costume sale at Fox’s in Covent Garden saw figures such as Princess Julia, Boy George and Marilyn pick up historical clothing for a song, going clubbing in the type of stuff you’d expect to see in the V&A. So it was to the Victoria & Albert Westwood went, in order to understand the cut of clothing from a historic perspective. Now the grandeur of previous centuries is ingrained in her work – and she’s one of our most iconic exports. 

Back to Jeffrey, it ultimately doesn’t matter if you can’t get the pink eyeshadow right, or the right switch of the hip (or the bleeding ‘self pierced’ ear). You’ll always have the cornflower blue suit to look fab in no matter what. Or the little knitwear. Or the shirt with French cuffs. It’s how this label is set to be his biggest and most eventful night out.

More Fashion

Like this?
Like Dazed on Facebook