London opens with Edward Crutchley’s historical gender-bending
Gender-bending in a Tudor royal court, where the dashing courtiers looked en route to an all-night party in a rather brilliant show by Edward Crutchley. A must-see menswear show in a post-election London, which woke up Friday morning in a giddy, optimistic mood of embracing foreignness wholeheartedly.
Gents in crinolines and geisha-worthy kimonos; or dandies in floral nighties; tough-chic ladies in mannish plaid pants and big-shouldered nylon flight jackets. Voluminous and faintly farcical but all the better for that. All attired in dazzling jacquards and bold silk prints, in bold hues and mixed-up camouflages. Not really anything much one could wear to work; but a great statement on how fashion is a key participant in destroying centuries-old boundaries, dress codes and moral viewpoints.
“Mantua gowns; Edo period in Japan; Japanese wedding gowns; a historical spread from 1680 to 1830s. But not reverential, and with lots of texture, prints and patterns - light playing on them all,” explained Crutchley, a Scotsman who has worked in Paris for Kim Jones in Louis Vuitton for the past decade. Crutchley’s aesthetic is light years away from Jones sporty tailoring; but his re-writing of fashion codes will have influence. He is that good.
Staged on a multi-racial casting inside the Ironmongers Hall – a wonderful old cut-stone building replete with wainscoting; oil paintings of the Royal family. An ideal location for a show, which used ancient fashion history to reinvent today’s apparel. As did the music – a punk rock band playing on medieval instruments. All told, a noisy celebration of alternative Britain.
Though, staging his show in such a remote setting – east of The City in the Barbican – meant that small gangs of buyers and editors kept arriving even as the models exited the Hall. Pity that - they missed a quirky fashion moment.
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