Will globalisation mean the end of originality? Has the internet killed subculture? Will homogeneity reign indefinitely? Can we still have fun with clothes? And if so, how?
Those were the tall questions Markus Lupfer posed in his Spring 2017 show notes. The German-born, London-based designer didn’t exactly answer some of his questions outright, but what he did do was lure customers with his sugary, florally-inclined collection. In 183 Eversholt Street—the show space that contributed to the “geographical discord” (coined by Luke Leitch) on day two of London Fashion Week—the venue was lined with large silver tiles and the walls were blanched; some were replaced with floral decorations with added to the bucolic air. With their slicked back hair, the Coachella- or Glastonbury-ready models positioned themselves hither and thither. Their outfits proved one thing: we can still have fun with clothes.
Without delving into deeply humorous territory, Lupfer printed his lineup of parkas, summer dresses and pyjama-inspired garments with woodland creatures, or fruit, such as pears, apples. Of the models, many of them wore apple-shaped sunglasses with lenses in tangerine, rust, rose gold, aqua. A marigold sweater with the outline of a hand-drawn rabbit struck me as the collection’s star item. When you attend a Markus Lupfer, guessing which piece will be next season’s bestseller is difficult: there is ample choice. For me, it was between that jumper, a black sweater with a drawing of a cat and indigo dungarees. Albeit, there was a lot of ‘stuff’ here, the collection was rooted more in honesty than previously. The hand-drawn illustrations and the inspiration were indicative of this.
Lupfer wanted to “[return] to the freshness of flowers and fruits” with this collection. He did that effectively. He proved the floral craze is an undying love and many young women will be satisfied with his array of colourful saccharinity. The way he toughened each look up with chokers—symbolic of the current 90s revival—and leather and chains points to a developing subculture in itself. It’s connected to mainstream media and reflective of the high street, but what saves it from being homogenous and unoriginal are the quirky Lupfer-isms. Many young women wouldn’t turn down a bomber jacket emblazoned with a woodland creature or apple-shaped sunglasses coming into festival season in 2017—those are the facts of the matter.
The festival-goers that inspired this collection had a delightfully English sensibility to them. While some high street retailers churn out utter garbage to pander to the festival attendees, Markus Lupfer offered an elegant edition to the ever-expanding library of modern style, as ruled by young women everywhere—not just the shortsighted, centralised depiction of big cities that we see from most designers. This season was more engaging and genuine in it’s execution. A leap in the right direction.
All images are my own