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Maximilian Davis Fashion East AW21 2
Maximilian DavisPhotography Marc Hibbert

Breaking down Fashion East’s extremely brilliant AW21 show

From Goom Heo and Maximilian, to new additions HRH and Jawara Alleyne, this season’s line-up closed LFW with a bang

Closing London Fashion Week down for another season last night was Fashion East – where Lulu Kennedy’s motley crew of the city’s shining stars debuted what they’d been working on for AW21. With Goom Heo and Nensi Dojaka making their third appearance on the line-up and SS21 newbie Maximilian Davis sticking around for a second season, joining the fold this time were CSM grad and shining star Jawara Alleyne and monster accessories designer HRH. Here’s what they had to show for themselves. 

MAXIMILIAN DAVIS

If you thought Maximilian Davis’ debut last season was good, just wait until you set eyes on the follow up. Truly coming into his own circa round two, the Manchester-born designer presented a slick collection that dove into the space-age futurism of the mid-1960s, and explored, once more, the experiences of his Trinidadian grandmother, who emigrated to the UK around this time. Drawing inspiration from photos capturing her dressed up in her Sunday best, the designer reinterpreted the round-shouldered suits and column skirts of the 60s in far sharper relief, with tiny buckled minis offset by sculpted, batwing shirts and swing-y flared disco pants matched with pristine cinched tailored jackets.

Rounding things off were psychedelic motifs that swirled across second-skin leggings and swimsuits matched with dramatic, showgirl-esque feathered headpieces and scuba masks created by Nasir Mazhar. As with last season, styling came via incoming Dazed editor-in-chief Ib Kamara. With Black people largely written out of the era’s fashion history, Davis explains his AW21 offering was a way of reclaiming the narrative: “That time was so incredible for fashion, and particularly in showcasing strong and powerful women. It’s not fair to exclude Blackness from that story.”

NENSI DOJAKA

Making chic, sheer sexiness her signature over the course of the last few seasons, AW21 saw CSM grad Dojaka further hone her craft. In a collection that recalled the pyrotechnic lines and abstract works of artist Hilma af Klint, all of her trademark elements were on display: with visible seams, slender linear straps, and diaphanous, figure-caressing slips all key. With her offering evolving through a new-found injection of colour, one dress complete with petal-shaped cut-out bra and a seamed mini skirt made its debut in bold fuchsia shot through with blue “so it mutates according to the light,” the designer explained. 

Elsewhere, a capsule of tailored pieces were also on show, with sharp, cropped jackets, high-waisted tuxedo minis, and languid tuxedo trousers acting as the perfect foil to the more sensual and intricate bodywear pieces. I always want to create intriguing designs that embrace delicacy and strength,” she said. 

HRH

As one of this season’s two Fashion East newbies, HRH (or, as she’s otherwise known, Hannah Hopkins) drew on her experiences as a former gymnast to create a collection fit for the fantasy sports tournament of her dreams. Fascinated by “the moments when teams aren’t on ice, or on the court, but are all boarding a plane together or waiting along the sidelines for results'', her inaugural collection bypasses ‘sporty’ and instead, digs deeper into the details.

The ubiquitous scrunchies that form a cornerstone of every gymnast’s washbag are blown up to XXL proportions and used to trim knickers and gloves, while flasks hang from hips in pouffy, pastel-coloured pouches, and tiny padded purses are slung around the body – with the whole collection together becoming a set of “lucky charms” akin to those collection on travels or tours.

GOOM

After asking former Dazed 100-er Goom Heo what her favourite scary movie was last Halloween, it seems we might(!) have gotten the cogs in her mind turning. Presenting her last Fashion East offering before flying the nest, the South Korean designer gave herself over to the dark side this season, channelling Robert Weine’s classic horror flick The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari into a typically subversive, off-kilter collection. With rigid, raw denim jeans matched with striped wool sweaters and matching scarves that crawled ominously up the body, cocoon coats with deep, dome-like hoods were simultaneously foreboding and protective, allowing the model to retreat into their folds and hide out of harm’s way.

Having historically focused on menswear, this season, the GOOM man was joined by a mysterious GOOM girl, meaning it will be all the more interesting to see where the designer takes things when she’s flying solo for SS22.

JAWARA ALLEYNE

Fresh out of Saint Martins having graduated amid the chaos of 2020, Alleyne is the second of Lulu Kennedy’s new recruits. Having previously held a magnifying glass up to masculinity as part of his MA collection last year, this season sees him delve further into its codes and dismantle accordingly.

For AW21, heavyweight upcycled jeans by legendary 90s denim label Sean John sit in stark contrast with skimpy cotton-doily cropped-tops and crocheted vests, while slashed-to-the-navel sleeveless silk shirts are tucked into slouchy double-waisted trousers with iridescent beetle-wing sheens, as part of a collection that weaves and winds its way through the many facets of masculinity to tell the story of ‘a new man’. That the much-anticipated offering’s name is Renegade should come as no surprise, given the man wearing Alleyne is exactly that – and all the more exciting for it.