The porn star, the housewife and the biker: the emerging designer releases Yorkshire Rosé featuring ‘amplified aspects’ of his personality
In September, recent Central Saint Martins graduate Matty Bovan made his London Fashion Week debut at Fashion East’s SS17 show. Thick with an otherworldly beauty, the collection pulled those present into Bovan’s parallel universe – one that was a cacophony of colour and texture. Glittery metal mesh and neon; accessories and funny little trinkets that he’d crafted himself, paired, of course, with the kind of off-kilter beauty looks you’ll recognise from his Instagram. DIY and wildly imaginative, the show embodied the spirit of creative freedom that’s so synonymous with London.
Now, the designer has expanded into publishing, releasing his first-ever zine – unveiled exclusively here – which provides a deeper insight into his strange new world. Shot by his friend and collaborator, photographer Lucy Alex Mac, and with make-up provided by M·A·C Cosmetics, Yorkshire Rosé (named after the county he hails from) embodies a continuation of the themes explored in his SS17 collection.
The project started, however, with a collection of “goblin-y, gremlin-y” objects he created for art, design and fashion pop-up House of Voltaire, which are about to go on sale. “I wanted to do something a bit more sinister,” he told us, “something with more of a creepy undertone. I was thinking about weird English folklore and all the face paint they wore – it’s always creepy and kind of garish.”
And it is more sinister – starring in the photographs himself, Bovan appears in characters that represent different, exaggerated extensions of himself. “They’re amplified aspects of my personality,” he says. “There’s one that looks like a twisted porn star – he’s a bit 70s and has a moustache. Then there’s one that looks quite medieval, one that looks quite housewife and one in a motorcycle suit and all-orange make-up, which is definitely the most sinister.”
Instead of photographing these characters in a context that matched their otherworldly nature, Bovan thought it would be better (and more “unnerving”) to photograph them in the real world. “I wanted it shot in really normal, boring locations,” he explains. “So we did it round my house, down the high street, in the car park. There’s even a few normal people in the background.” Indeed there are – one shot (starring the previously mentioned character in a motorcycle suit and orange make-up) features a woman talking on the phone outside WHSmith.
Contrary to what you might expect from a fashion designer, Yorkshire Rosé isn’t about his clothes. In fact he only made a few of the garments featured in the zine and sourced the rest in local charity shops; an experience, he says, he found quite liberating. While it doesn’t demonstrate Bovan’s design skills, the publication does give us more of an insight into his world – and leaves us wanting more.
Yorkshire Rosé launches tomorrow at House of Voltaire which is open Wednesday-Sunday, 12pm-6pm or by appointment, until December 18th, and can be found at 31 Cork Street, London, W1S 3NU.