Dear Shaded Viewers and Diane,
The polarised nature of London's menswear scene makes it so that the hottest tickets on our current schedule have come to be those designers who few years ago pioneered the possibility of an alternative to Savile Row's traditions, perceived, as it were, as out of sync with the fiery urban youth. A muscled reaction to the stiff upper lip, their work is and has been openly confrontational at its best. While the importance of a good fit gradually dwindled, joggers have become a seasonless must-have in the modern man’s closet. With his sophomore show under the wing of Topman and Fashion East’s MAN project, Charles Jeffrey gives further cloth to the idea, already addressed in his previous collection, that a common ground could perhaps be found – and that if it exists, then there’s nowhere better to look for it than in the fine art of men’s peacocking, a practice that harks back to the iconic 1650s. In Charles’ mind, this takes the shape perhaps most notably of an actual corset tucked in matching sweatpants, a look perfected if worn with a doily collar, face paint and bleached hair. Next, Swarovski crystals feature alongside plasticine embellishments, and last season’s drunk tailoring gives way for spring to two distinct silhouettes, the Bitch, with full skirted coats and a curved fastening line dotted with tone-on-tone covered buttons, and the Bastard with his cinched waistline. In their apparent levity, both are exquisitely realised. And before this sounds too much like a conceptual exercise, presented on a runway of flowers and sand in front of projections of bodies and moon (by collaborators William Farr and Gareth Wrighton respectively), it’s worth noting that Charles’ work is no less authentic than that of his peers, and not just inspired, but devoted, to its own subcultural niche. Established before the brand, LOVERBOY is Charles Jeffrey’s own club night, which he hosts regularly enough at Vogue Fabrics in Dalston, which is also where his studio is.