Charles Jeffrey Loverboy has a fashion moment
London Fashion Week will always be all about discovering raw talent, and few are rawer, and cooler, than Charles Jeffrey. He staged the first proper fashion moment in the menswear season here courtesy of his Loverboy show – a meeting of Tudor urchins, Hogarthian villains and mantilla-clad duchesses.
A finalist in the LVMH Prize – whose winner will be announced next week – Charles Jeffrey is an in-your-face designer whose oeuvre is all about the liberating power of parties.
“It’s about the euphoric unity of debauchery,” he explained in a packed backstage. This is a designer who dyes his hair gold, rouges his cheeks and likes red eyeshadow.
His show opened with a performance by Theo Adams Company, with groups of dancers bedecked in cardboard and papier-mâché boxes, leaves, petals and paraphernalia – all in pink – out of which the models emerged.
The collection was essentially a cast of characters: multi-buckle tartan punks; Elizabethan courtiers in leather blousons trimmed with zips; broad striped gangster suits; hussar jackets with gold frogging worn over white boxing boots. Climaxing with a lanky 'bride' with a blue face, dressed in a painted white crinoline covered with hearts and motifs.
In a weekend dominated by the shock election result, this self-consciously political Scotsman also sent out absurdist mock newspaper headline T-Shirts, part of an overall anti-print media mood in London this season. One T-Shirt from a newspaper called The Scottish Basic, read, “Postman Beats Lavendar Bush!”
In his first standalone show, Jeffrey took his bow with an extended tour of the catwalk inside 180 Strand, an uncompleted office building looking out on the Thames where most of the menswear shows are staged. The audience greeted him with extended applause and cheers like some conquering rock star. Which is what Jeffrey has become, thanks to his legendary Loverboy once-monthly party nights in Dalston, where attendees daub their faces with paint and wear outrageous costumes. Those bashes even paid for his tuition to complete an MA at St Martins in 2015.
Credit to LVMH for having spotted Jeffrey early on in his career. He is still very much an unpolished creator, but if his rapid trajectory continues, some continental brand will eventually be smart enough to name him its creative director.
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