We’ve seen a fair few non-model-models (or nodels as we're dubbing them) take to the catwalk this season: controversial artist Bjarne Melgaard and a host of other creatives at Eckhaus Latta, stripper Cardi B at Gypsy Sport and Gossip singer Beth Ditto at Marc Jacobs. Now, on the last day of London Fashion Week, tattoo artist and social media phenomenon Grace Neutral has walked for emerging designer Ashley Williams.
Neutral, who works at East London tattoo studio Good Times, doesn’t fit the standard mould for a fashion model. Aside from her heavily-inked skin, the self-described alien has undergone some body modification surgery. According Reba Maybury writing for Sang Bleu, she had, “her eyeballs tattooed a light lilac colour, her belly button removed, nose stretched, face tattooed, the shape of moons carved out of her cheeks and ears turned into pixie shapes.”
Neutral’s got a huge fan base in Japan and on Instagram where she has over 222k followers – and she’s found a fan in Williams too. “I saw Grace photographed in some of my clothes and I loved how she looked,” the designer explained backstage. “Before we had really beautiful It-girls, like Georgia (May-Jagger). But to be an Ashley Williams girl, you don’t have to be like that. Grace is on the other end of the spectrum but still on the same wavelength. I think she sits in the collection really well.”
Williams collection itself was a lot darker than we’ve come to expect from the designer, whose gained a reputation for her happy-go-lucky adoption of kitsch. This season the Ashley Williams girl has gone bad. “I wanted to do something different,” she explained. “She’s still the same as the happy girl but she’s not happy today. She’s in a bad mood for a number of reasons...” she continued, somewhat elusively.
And this came through in the collection very literally: the words “Bad Mood” were emblazoned on several garments, along with motifs of flies goat skulls. “She’s Avril Lavigne and Winona Ryder given a 70s Hollywood/Halston makeover,”’ said the press release, “...channeling her inner Camden Market goth.”