matty bovan: mix magic with edwardian, but make it extra
In Uncertain Times, This Is A Sure Thing! Welcome to Bovan's autumn/winter 19 world.
Fashion East alumnus Matty Bovan opened his third solo collection with a letter addressed to his late grandmother, which proclaimed that anxiety produced by the current political madness could be quelled with the purchase of some cheap furniture. And so, In Uncertain Times, This Is A Sure Thing! was born. “I thought it was so perverse and so horrible to latch onto the political social economy to try and sell you basically crap furniture,” Matty said backstage post-show, tired but very happy. “It was the right title. You know, we are at a point where no one knows what the hell is going to happen.” Matty has become known for throwing beauty and the bliss of creativity in the face of the world’s bullshit. “I'm not a politician. But I do feel that all I can do is try and provide some sort of inspiration or creation. I’m not great at anything else.” He is, thankfully, really great at doing exactly that. Bovan’s designs are the antithesis of assembly line, throwaway products. His clothing is akin to an artwork, meticulously made by hand, thought-provoking and for keeps.
Long intrigued by the strangeness of folklore, Matty spent months researching the Pendle Witch Trials of 1612, Lancashire mysticism and even the Salem witch trials, and this became an exploration of what modern magic is. So the strangeness of olden days folded into the weird place we find ourselves in now, with Bovan taking on myth, a bit of madness, and magic both good and evil. How were these elements expressed in the collection? “I always say it's like cooking. So you're cooking 12 dishes on a stove and you really don't know how it's all going to go together… that's the really exciting bit,” Matty explains. It all came together brilliantly here, with his signature skill of reinventing English eccentricity, the beautifully disheveled aristocratic colliding with modern party girl glam — Edwardian, but make it club.
Bovan’s instinctive mash-up of colour, texture, and proportion challenges the taste threshold, making incongruous elements look compelling together. He has knack for resetting our perceptions on what looks good. Frills, delicate floral prints courtesy of a collaboration with Liberty London, kaleidoscopic patches of sequins, taffeta in energy-drink-violet all melded together for a visual feast. Big, loose stitches gave a sense of naive DIY. Knits were folded to show the underside, their prints blocky, imperfect but vibrant. Faux fur trailed off models' waists like they were hunters carrying pelts; thick rolls of draped wool were made sexy with exposed shoulders; a gold foil-like print on top of a prim dress-bodice worn by Adwoa Aboah gave a time-travelling feel. And, of course, it wouldn’t be a Matty Bovan show without a showstopping gown or two -- voluminous with piled upon fabric, a wide, space-hogging skirt, a million different elements pulled into an incredible, fun, weird and totally fashion fantasy. It was all topped off with Stephen Jones for COACH X Matty Bovan headwear, while Katie Hillier made huge scrunchies and keyrings from the Liberty prints, which everyone will immediately want.
Matty continues his reign as one of the country’s most exciting talents, a title won not just through skill but through total dedication. He’ll enjoy a few fashion week parties, but will be straight back to work, doing what he loves best.