Dear Shaded Viewers and Diane,
On the eve of London Collections: Men, the Royal College of Art’s graduation show unwrapped the season at the Averard Hotel. “A site of layered histories” in the words of Head of Fashion Zowie Broach, where watered parquetry and chapped gold-leaf walls whet the imagination like a surrealist frottage. By being offered a glimpse, we’re led to imagine worlds, and the same happens with the outfits we see. Rather than a full collection per student, the show, called Kinetic Salon, features but one look each – the “essence”, we’re told, of its designer. A condensed story maybe, or a distilled one: they’re worn by boys and girls carrying numbers, like you see done in archive clips of early fashion shows sometimes, that refer to a graduate’s name in the booklet on our bench. These echoes from the past, like the invite that came in the mail with a 1874 Charles Dickens’ quote, may come especially handy to those about to begin a career in an industry whose seasonal structure is more and more often being questioned, and whose dedication to the present moment might cause us to lose track, every once in a while, of fashion’s perennial flux. The clothes themselves are often crafted with colours, fabrics and textures that abide to our collective idea of what the future will soon come to look like: silvery tinfoil, lacquered and liquid plastic, rubber. But a sense of something that fades and frays, comes apart at the seams, is very present too, and perhaps in its response, a proud DIY resilience, paper-like crispness and saturated patchworks. Above and below, some of my favourites, from: Stefanie Tschirky, Luke Stevens, Colleen Anne Leitch, Oksana Anilionyte, Marie Maisonneuve, Timothy Bouyez-Forge, Laetitia Berthier, Victoria Craven, Mao Tsen Chang.
Photos: Stephen Pover