As the (perhaps sightly hungover) crowd dragged itself away from Fashion East’s empathetic spread of croissants, fresh fruit and smoothies, they were confronted with kween of kitsch Mimi Wade’s ‘Mimimount’ presentation. There’s a lot of comfort in kitsch, it reminds me of my grandma’s house, all frilly pink polyester, every conceivable item trimmed with lace, with 1970s prints of animals on the wall. Welcome to Mimi’s world. With SS17 showing graphic dresses, logos and flowers splashed across pink and gold leather, she has taken kitsch from something to be avoided into something you’ll crave. Flitting between the crowd, flashing perfect teeth and dressed in lilac lace off her own design, perhaps the best advert for Mimi Wade is Mimi herself.
Matty Bovan designed every piece of his first London Fashion Week collection on his own body. If I’m brutally honest, it wasn’t the first time I’d found myself wanting to wear head-to-toe neon netting with as many accessories as I can fit on my body (a lot – I’m 5 ft 11), but this was definitely the first time since Nu-Rave died in 2006. Perhaps this reaction is me knowing Matty Bovan, darling of the industry, wears it. Having started out making clothes for himself, Louis Vuitton now want to work with him. If you think you’ll never again wear Day-Glo, fringe, spray paint, often all in one garment, then you haven’t seen a Matty Bovan show. He can be very persuasive.
A. V. Robertson understands how to unite a collection. With ‘tropical paradise gone bad’ as her starting point for SS17, embellished purple and lime flowers twisted their way from denim jacket to high-necked navy dress to hot pant. An androgynous, tumultuous assortment of sheer jewel coloured blouses and gowns, metallic leathers, tweed and neon satin, the talented Robertson made the combination of these elements seem obvious. The simple beauty of a petal-flaunting vine winding its way from limb to torso up a near-nude body should not be underestimated, and neither should this designer. With Marc Jacobs and Katy Grand championing this young designer’s work, Robertson’s secret garden won’t remain secret much longer.
Richard Malone is pulling apart those stereotypes of the working class which we in the United Kingdom take for granted. Malone was raised in a small town in southern Ireland, where he recognised something appealing in the clean aesthetics of the uniforms of cleaners, factory workers and blue-collar workwear. For SS17 he took the utilitarian aspects of these outfits and rebirthed them anew; oversized pockets, poppers and adjustable ties are practical but for Malone they offer a chance to play with or emphasise the shape of the body. His designs wind around your form, exposing a collar bone here, a back dimple there. His colour-scheme of orange and blue – traditionally the colour choice for a nurse’s outfit, or boiler-suit – through Malone’s manipulation of the garment’s architecture become your first choice for a dinner party or date.
Images by Claudia Rocha
Words by Harriet May de Vere