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Katie Eary SS16 LCM menswear
Backstage at Katie Eary SS16Photography Daisy Walker

Subverting childhood nostalgia with sex

Designer Katie Eary on why she decided to turn My Little Pony x-rated for SS16

Throughout LC:M there were a number of designers who played with the notion of youth – its innocence, its subversive and rebellious nature, its irrationality, and the nostalgia that we have for it. Bobby Abley – or Astro Abley as he christened himself for his latest collection, his solo catwalk debut – sent models down the runway with Star Wars insignia adorned across sweaters. One mohair jumper said “Chewy” in Disney font in reference to the hairy character Chewbacca, other models wore sweaters with Ewok faces or “Princess Slayer” motifs. “Referencing something that everyone knows from their childhood makes people sentimental, they bring a happiness to it because it already means something to them,” said Abley after the show. But it was Katie Eary’s impactful My Little Pony prints that took the notion of subverting nostalgia to the next level. Fabrics were selected to represent the glossy sheen of childish plastic toys – satin, silks, poly blends – and on them were prints “designed to overthrow innocence,” as Eary put it – My Little Ponies with giant cocks.  

So, you don’t think teenagers are innocent little creatures? 

Katie Eary: No they’re bloody sinister. (laughs)

Which is why you took these signifiers of youth and tarnished them?

Katie Eary: It’s about this veneer of youth – the veneer of innocence that comes with youth and what’s underneath, which is intoxicating and dangerous. I also looked a lot at the 50s, which is when the ‘teenager’ was born, the concept of a teenager. Because before that it was like, get married at 16 and start a family and a more grown up life – man works, woman has babies. Then in the 50s the brats grew up and that was the generation where it all started – Elvis was on the TV being so overtly sexual and the whole of the world was saying 'Oh my God!', but these teenagers were like 'YES, love it!' and wanted to emulate that and copy that. For the time that was like raw sex. People remember this polished idea of the 50s polished, but the kids were a nightmare.

Underneath innocence is something not very innocent at all.

Katie Eary: Yes! The idea of this show was totally that – these are polished and beautiful, dirty teenage boys. Beautiful boys who just want to fuck anything that moves.

How did My Little Pony come into the mix? 

Katie Eary: It’s a childish memory that everyone knows, it’s a universal symbol and I wanted to debase ALL innocence. My Little Pony is one of the most iconic symbols of when we were kids and putting a giant cock on it was the most impactful way to debase innocence for everyone – the thing is you don’t even see it at first and you’re like, 'oh cute, My Little Pony, I love My Little...' and then 'Oh gosh!' It's the same as the guys this collection is about, 'Oh he’s a cute young man… oh God he’s got hormones and wants to fuck!' Being print-based I had to find a way to make this message translate through a print and My Little Pony with a huge cock seemed perfect.

So are any of the elements specifically referencing your teen years? 

Katie Eary: Yes – it's basically based on all the boys I was in love with at school. All of them. There were quite a few.

The use of music was genius – from Dinah Washington to A$AP Rocky.

Katie Eary: It was supposed to be this love story through song, about these hormonal teens falling in love. The female view was the first song, when you’ve got Dinah Washington going “I’m mad about the boy” and then it cuts into rap songs and he’s basically singing about all his conquests, all these women that he’s fucked. She’s mad about him and he’s singing “she’s gonna get the lobster.” That's the interesting difference between the sexes, I mean when you’re in love, you’re in love, but girls just go crazy for boys. Boys are assholes to them and they’re just like 'hit me again! push my face across the playground again!' That’s hormones for you!