Dear Shaded Viewers and Diane,
Ryan LO’s show opened this afternoon on an unusually sombre note – if not quite funereal for all of its gloss, unexpectedly dark for a designer that has made his signature out of high-glo virtuosities in candyfloss. A monochrome couple pushing a matching black pram filled with black roses were the first to walk in, him in military tailoring, her in a marabou bearskin hat and sleek stilettos. After a sequence of dark but sweet, liquorice ensembles, the milks and pinks would come, but softer, classier that ever before. LO is refining his strengths, indulging in the ornaments that he does best while exercising restraint when it comes to the colour palette. His self-confidence is best expressed in the slow pace of the models, welcoming close scrutiny in their structural faultlessness. The gleam and the shine persist, though – yet where once were glitter and sequins now are polish, satin ribbons and corsets, quilted vests on lustrous, sheer pussybow blouses. Markers of elegance dating back decades: LO was inspired by Rune Naito’s 1960s illustrations and the interpretation of old French aristocracy as filtered through the Japanese imaginary, in the 1970s shojo manga The Rose of Versailles. Both were referenced in flared sleeves, floral crochets in fine mohair, backcombed hair and thin, sharp heels. The Ryan LO brand is growing its teeth: more commercial, more mature, still bitingly sweet to the core.