Ashish brightened day four of London Fashion Week with a glittering line up of afro-wearing disco babes, each dressed head to toe in a sparkling block-color look, making a full rainbow when all lined up together.
"It was inspired by a box of Crayola actually!" the designer told i-D backstage after the show. "I wanted it to be super-organized color, but also it's a statement about being multicultural and embracing all the colors of the rainbow," he explained, noting that, "We do lots of diverse castings, but I thought it was quite funny to do one block-color per girl, head to toe, very literally, and just do a crazy mish-mash rainbow celebration. In the end, I thought it was so beautiful the way it was like a color wheel."
As "Little Fluffy Clouds" by The Orb played, a diverse line-up of black, Asian and caucasian models wearing cloud-like color-dyed afro wigs walked and wiggled and danced their way down the catwalk wearing Ashish's trademark sequin-covered looks. From flirty gold and pink mini-dresses, to longer flapper styles with dangling teardrop sequins, hot fuschia pink 50s capri pants in shantung silk, split at the side seams and held together with three ribbon bows, a trench coat, 50s American workwear denim wide-cut jeans and jackets with tube beading, fluid disco dresses with slashed necklines, backs and thigh splits, faux fur coats with sequins dangling through the pelt, a sky blue pajama suit and a signature sweatpants, sweatshirt and hoodie look in baby pink. Some of the gold tone looks have playful slogans including 'Gold Digger' and 'Golden Shower.'
The collection references megawatt glamour from the 50s through to the 70s, 80s and today, with a diverse model casting that puts paid to suggestions from any corner of the industry that the models just aren't there to book. Everyone talks about diversity, but things haven't improved very much. "I think it's something that moves quite slowly," Ashish agrees. Is it important to keep talking about it? "I think it's really important actually, now more than ever; there's so much right-wing-ism sweeping the world and it makes me quite angry and quite upset and I think that therefore, as a creative person, I have to try and say what I want to say in my own creative way."
But this was no hand-wringing political statement -- it was a riot, in the all night disco party sense. "Yeah! Well I think fashion should always be something really celebratory and fun, and something to be really enjoyed, and where you can feel the fantasy, otherwise what's the bloody point?!"
Text Charlotte Gush
Photography Jason Lloyd Evams