Fashion Week’s back! After a two year break from the hectic fashion calendar and a dive into various digital, “phygital” and video explorations, a cohort of young designers made its IRL come-back in full swing to the British capital. As to echo the enthusiasm that surrounds the reopening of clubs, dance floor inspirations were aplenty.
Like an invitation to shake off the lockdown dust, the playfulness was palpable, from Charles Jeffrey’s LOVERBOY “out and raging” boldness to the brilliant roster of London’s incubator Fashion East and Supriya Lele’s polyvalent sheer and scrappy clothes. Here’s our round-up of the most stunning club-ready looks on the schedule–and good news for 2022’s ravers: mesh is here to stay, and bare-skin dance floor extravaganza is IN.
Born from the party-spirits of East London’s queer underground, Charles Jeffrey’s LOVERBOY “aggressively fabulous” brand has grown to become one of the most exciting young luxury labels in town. Coming back to the club floor with a new collection dubbed The Portal presented in the concrete belly of Electrowerks, the designer brought back their theatrical style and sheer joy with signature paint splattering, tartan and brash colours–a collaboration with fellow CSM grad Bradley Sharpe and the trans+ talent agency WIMP that thinks beyond the boxes of social norms.
With branded underwear and irresistible craftiness, this joyful reunion of face-painted queer talents felt like a nostalgic nod to the Vogue Fabrics Dalston debuts. The Portal’s music was brought to life by sonic and visual artist and NTS resident Tom Furse. WIMP partnered with Charles Jeffrey to host the co-titled after-party, summoning the dance floor demons of LOVERBOY’s club night and a touch of 2021 queerness with its cast of creatives, performers and DJs like akataahliah and INFERNO’s Jean Ocídio.
“Children of the gloom, you are not alone. Take our hands and join us as we dance to the horizon and ascend into interstellar bliss,” read the show notes. We complied.
Photos courtesy of LOVERBOY, Credit: Haydon Perrior, Thomas De Cruz Media.
Stranded in Ibiza, Supriya Lele had to design her new collection without access to her studio. Rethinking her needs and those of a new generation of womxn, here is a new versatile collection that celebrates and frames feminine bodies with sheerness and confident designs in sharp hues.
Soundtracked by Swedish producer Varg²™, the SS22 runway show presented an amount of nightlife-ready looks with sheer jersey, cut-out bodysuits sequins, and elegant halter necks. Supriya’s silhouettes-flattering dresses and shirts are conceived by an all-women studio team who promotes comfort and self-assurance–fit for the generation who aspire to empowerment and body positivity.
Images: Courtesy of Supriya Lele, credit: Chris Yates Media
Talent incubator Fashion East certainly brought a sense of community to London’s fashion scene, bringing a new cohort of talents under the spotlight every year. Asian-American newcomer Chet Lo made an impressive debut with a collection of his signature spike 3D-knit designs of bold pastel and neon colours reminiscent of holidays and pool party attire. The delightful aquatic kitsch, rubber props and puffer fish vibes sent shivers of excitement through the room.
Images courtesy of Fashion East.
For his third season with Fashion East–and a brilliant runway debut–A$AP Rocky-approved Maximilian drew from his childhood memories of Trinidad, James Bond movies and beloved Caribbean painter Boscoe Holder and photographer Thierry Le Gouès for a cinematic collection full of nostalgia marked a bold sense of freedom, and soundtracked by SUUTOO.
The “pose-wear” SS22 collection was full of silk and chiffon swimwear, pool-to-club ready looks with sheer fabrics and clean cuts. Davis closed the show in style with the magnificent Carnival-inspired harness mounted with black palm fronds by Nasir Mazhar, which left the FROW crowd in awe, hinting at the birth of a new British fashion star.
Images courtesy of Fashion East.
The London-based label founded in 2021 by CSM students and Fashion East alums Charlotte Knowles and Alexandre Arsenault presented ‘Adrenaline’ in a barely lit underground car park near Oxford Circus, carried by a trap-fuelled industrial soundtrack.
The collection illustrated the brand’s vision of femininity as dangerous and proudly sexy, playing with exposure and concealment with slick bustiers and bike shorts. Here we found expert layers of sheer mesh, leather work with an overall noughties Bohemian-meets-Mad Max feel, and a disco-ready collaboration with jeweller Marco Panconesi.
Images courtesy of British Fashion Council, credits: left to right, images 1-3 by Rory James, image 4 by Shaun James Cox
If radical futuristic fashion had a name in Britain, it would be Ingrid Kraftchenko’s. For her first presentation on schedule, the creative artist and activist took to in a raw industrial gallery space for REPLIKANT / NO SEASON 22, a performative art piece alongside a virtual cyborg animation supported by a pulsating industrial soundtrack, which would not feel out of place on a Berghain dance floor at 5AM.
With the explicit intent to transcend seasonality and question fast fashion practices, the designer used reconstituted and recycled materials to create a “radical armour (…) developed to defend the self, and fight hazard and risk. Ultimately, a retaliation to the heightened levels of surveillance, air pollution, pandemics and other infringements of civil rights”. Drawing from youth culture, DIY and her political frustrations, Kraftchenko’s designs challenge modern luxury and gender norms, and are perfectly tailored for the rave. Lovers of the brand will recognise its androgynous silhouette and sci-fi influences, with Blade Runner aesthetics and genetically engineered humans–we, survivors, are ready for the new technological era.
Marie Dapoigny is Electronic Beat‘s Senior Editor, follow them on Instagram.
Published September 24, 2021. Words by Marie Dapoigny.