There was a dark air in the spring 2016 collections in London, especially amongst the new designers. They’re not afraid to speak their mind. Dotted around Soho, designers offered ominous viewpoints on the world. It’s interesting how London’s brightest designers capture the bleakest inspirations in their collections. Molly Goddard, Claire Barrow and Phoebe English are three young women that gave their riff on the gloomy days past and ahead.
Molly Goddard occupied the BFC Presentation Space at the ICA for her presentation. With the help of her mother, she created a makeshift sandwich factory. The models, dressed in clouds of tulle, sliced, buttered and prepared them. Though the set was witty, the idea behind it was quite grim. It was loosely based on the dreary summers spent in the English countryside; it didn’t stop the clothes from being ebullient. There was a green, tulle dress with a smocked top, embroidered in red and pink flowers. Seen in almost every one of Molly’s collections, a peachy pink tulle dress was festooned with red smocking, and another had a billowing skirt. Adding schoolgirl-esqe flavour, a tartan dress with ruffled shoulders was shown. Straying from the signature also was the slew of t-shirts and jumpsuits. Floral printed, against a grey background, the top would be perfect with one of the tulle skirts. A heavily ruffled pair of shorts and a ruffled crop top will be all over Tumblr. It’s that kawaii and kitsch flair that makes Molly Goddard popular with the social-media crowd but most importantly, with fashion folk.
Claire Barrow is undoubtedly one of London’s most sought after upcoming designer. I overheard a few times that her presentation, early on the Sunday morning, was the week’s busiest event. I’m not surprised considering the allure surrounding her designs. She’s looked at dystopian art and literature and the gentrification of London. The spring collection adopted the name of “Broken Machines”: in a world where all technology has failed and clothes are the only items you can call your own, the Claire Barrow girl lives. Hand-painted illustrations emblazoned high waisted denims, t-shirts, dresses and shorts. Clothes were frayed and sharply tailored, deconstructed and heavily constructed. They all possessed a macabre aura. You can identify a Claire Barrow look by the illustrations or, most likely, you’ll recognise the beautifully sinister mien.
Phoebe English launched their e-shop, had an installation at the Comme des Garçons Trading Museum in Paris, presented a capsule collection of menswear and launched a book in collaboration with Polly Brown. To close out the year, her spring 2016 collection put on a dark facade but Phoebe states there are “overtones of optimism”. “Moving from one side of something to another, transition from one space to another space” was the inspiration behind this collection. Of course, with “dishevelled and laded heavily textured surfaces”, Phoebe produced yet another fantastic collection. I think it was the disheveled element that gave this collection its haunting vibe; the way the tattered black was draped across a white dress, skirts hung loosely on the body, a white shirts was asymmetrically layered over a white skirt. The earthy colour reminded me of Rey, from Star Wars: The Force Awakens—Phoebe took part in the Star Wars fashion exhibition in November. Imbued with a sense of sombreness and ominousness, this collection was one of my favourites of the week.
Photo Credit: voguerunway.com, zimbio.com