matty bovan stakes his claim as a new english fashion rebel
Inspired by Derek Jarman, and with Vivienne Westwood watching on, Matty Bovan's spring/summer 19 places him in their lineage.
Photography: Lily Vetch
There’s something very honest about Matty Bovan’s approach to fashion. Something very charming, a little bit of naive beauty. Spring/summer 19 was only his second solo catwalk show at London Fashion Week, but his work already feels incredibly mature and incredibly accomplished. His talent is obvious, it’s in the delicate juggling of hundreds of different elements, textures, fabrics, shapes, colours. His work is homemade Baroque and Rococo punk. There's something considered in its outsiderness too. Working outside the capital. Pursuing creativity rather than commerce.
“The whole message of this collection was that craft is such a vital skill, and it has to be nurtured,” he said backstage after the show, among a scrum that included both Vivienne Westwood and the teacher who taught him fashion at age 16 in York. Vivienne is an obvious reference point for the work Matty does, but the influence its more about sensibility than silhouette; that DIY sense of intimacy. The feeling that everything should be handmade and loved and feel bespoke.
This season was a joyful bricolage of a 1000 different elements that find balance with each other. There big voluminous skirts. Towering garden ornament headpieces. Bright fluoros and more earthy greens and browns and beiges. The dresses were covered in an intricate web of scrawls and hieroglyphs and cave painting sequel doodles. It is a lot to take in. “As a designer it’s my job to push taste,” Matty said simply. “You have to make people think.”
One particular influence this season was filmmaker Derek Jarman, a contemporary of Vivienne. “I love the kitchen sink ad hoc nature of Jarman,” he explained. “It feels like he made decisions instinctively, and that’s the way I work.” But deeper, it was there too in the shared sense of rebellious pastoral Englishness, which Matty pushed to the fore here.
The soundtrack veered between The Stooges and Kate Bush, two unlikely references that worked in sync. Which might as well stand for the collection as a whole. “It was all about harmony in different elements – about mixing lambswool with lycra, natural fabrics and plastics. It’s about the digital and the handmade. It’s about liking everything and wanting to include everything.”