marques'almeida, toogood and richard malone: london fashion week draws to a close
On the final day of shows, the capital's fresh, young design talent reminded us why London is such an exciting place to be right now.
Photography Mitchell Sams
Welcome to the house of fun! Marques'Almeida's new collection was a colourful party of Beetlejuice stripes, hand painted spots on silk, monochrome squares, raw silk ruffles, 60s swirl patterns, flared power suits, giant platform boots and a grown-up, dressed-up new feel. Backstage, a very pregnant Marta Marques told us that this season was all about "the idea of celebratory dressing, individualism and diversity," as well as "the work of Malick Sidibé and his way of photographing youth in really celebratory outfits; the idea of dressing up and looking your best." With that running through their heads and Nina Simone on repeat in the studio, her and Paulo designed super special party looks to be toned down to perfection by the effortless cool of their Insta/friend-cast girls. With new romantic make-up and hair falling in messy on-purpose waves, it was a very happy LFW ending of colour clashes and fabric mish-mashes. Word on the street is that the duo attempted to tighten their colour scheme down but their rainbow lovin' just shone on through. Aren't you glad it did?
Text (and model) Frankie Dunn
"We were inspired by a melancholic English landscape painting, an eighteenth century mochaware mug and a first world war camouflage suit," explains Faye Toogood from a quiet enclave of Studio Toogood's new home on Redchurch Street. Separated by a courtyard, the renovated space might only be a stone's throw from the bustling east London street but the moment the door closes behind you, you're instantly transported to a different world, the carefully crafted, ever-evolving ecosystem of Toogood. Set alongside their furniture,interiors and sculpture, the unmistakable spirit of both sisters echoed throughout each and every room. The complimentary voices of Faye's preoccupation with materiality and Erica's audacious shape-making could be heard and understood as one.
Removing themselves from the ever-quickening conveyor belt of fashion shows and product launches, the presentation pace was instantly slowed as visitors were greeted with tea made from foraged flowers and invited to explore their 007 Collection that had been scattered through the split levels of the welcoming studio space. It provided the perfect punctuation to this enthralling chapter of London fashion week. From unique camouflage made up from hand-splattered dye onto green canvas and exclusive textiles made in collaboration with recent RCA graduate Georgia Kemball and historic Japanese weaving mill Hoosoo, the hardwearing garments are both practical and sculptural. "It's an escape. The ability to lose ourselves in the great outdoors. We withdraw to the wild and windy moor, not to retreat but to regroup." Join the quiet revolution of team Toogood.
Text Steve Salter
Previously inspired by his mum's Argos uniform, blue collar workwear and his glamorous auntie Ann, Richard Malone is a master at transforming working class signifiers into high fashion. A tribute, not an appropriation, of these styles, Malone's work is never a literal 'homage', but an elevation of details from a culture (his culture) often referenced by fashion in a nostalgic way, but rarely acknowledged as a culturally-significant modern reality. "I think it's important not to look at them as a gimmick," Richard told i-D backstage. "There are beautiful codes within those cultures and subcultures, and they still exist in working class towns. That's what I grew up around, so that's what informs a lot of my work."
For autumn/winter 17, Malone drew our eyes to the everyday, municipal design around us -- specifically the colourful, eye-bending patterns of bus upholstery. "These prints, they're everywhere around us and no one really takes notice of them, but back when they were designed there was so much effort put into making that for a public space. Now, with distractions like our phones, we overlook those patterns and those prints, so I started designing my own," he explains. "I'm always taking [buses] going somewhere, travelling back to Ireland or something. In Ireland it's quite good, because they're grubby and old where I'm from, so you get proper old school 80s or 70s prints that hurt your eyes a bit, and it's on the whole inside of a bus!"
Demonstrating Malone's incredible pattern cutting powers, two of the models wearing his bright chevron and floral patterned designs were contemporary dancers - one of which performed in Eddie Peake's White Cube show. "It's nice to make clothes for a working body," Malone comments. "It's a challenge as a designer to make something that can function to that extreme of a movement whilst still having those shapes. That's really exciting for me, from the pattern cutting element and also from using fabrics that aren't stretchy at all this time -- they really have to be cut and draped and fitted like 100 times, but that's my job, I think. That's the part I really enjoy, that I really love."
Text Charlotte Gush