Dear Shaded Viewers and Diane,
In the panorama of prospering homegrown talent that gathers in Soho in Fashion Week season to showcase their work in dainty tiny alcoves, you will find no one as idiosyncratic as CSM graduate Ed Marler. A grab bag of spectacle and tragedy, riot and melancholia, his summer collection pays perhaps the most authentic tribute to the gone days of McQueen and Westwood, before the refinement of their craft, before the soft pull of success. Blessed by the haste of youth, Marler rebels, but finds his place at the same time into a quintessential vein of revered British fashion tradition. Held in a quaint brick back alley that's actually just about a minute and a half away from the official BFC venue, the presentation welcomes the guests to a oxidised kingdom of the underworld, with all the allure and pride of the banished. Some of the street casted models carry big crumpled paper bags, and scatter off-seasonal tinsel and Christmas streamers all over the pavement. Their forlorn expression reminds me of this video work by Pauline Boudry, in which a punk figure is seen mulishly trying to sweep up these same glittery filaments. One of these, in red, hems a jacket with detached sleeves, and is worn with a matching ruby crown. Most wear crowns, at the Marler’s court, and pending earrings with rhinestones. If this were 1978, they all could have just left the set of a Derek Jarman’s film. There are, sure, hints of our contemporary urban kid: poppers, tube socks, denim ripped with gusto and then urgently stitched back. But they feature alongside full taffeta gowns and an overabundance of sequins, blazers with pointed lapels and collars and a chequered peplum top that cascades in ruffles. Ultimately, is the uninhibited blend of grandeur and decadence that leads the collection ahead. Knickerbockers come paired with frayed royalty capes. The king, he’s a ginger, gives you audience in a total white satiny look sliced up here and there. A moody she-knight figure shows up seemingly half-undressed, hers is my favourite look: she wears an ornate chest piece with cutout leaves over frills of black tulle, and creamy, rosy underwear with kneepads.
Photos by Caoimhe Hahn.