take a trip through ryan lo's anime desert for spring/summer 17

Filled with magic carpets, snake charmers, and bejeweled turbans, the Hong Kong-born, London-based designer places his kawaii lens over a Middle Eastern kaleidoscope.

by Felicity Kinsella
17 September 2016, 11:15am

Eleanor Hardwick

"I love the Japanese take on the Middle East," Ryan Lo tells us backstage after his London Fashion Week spring/summer 17 show. "Japanese cartoons — they're fictional fantasy about the Middle East. It's like Japanese katsu curry! Curry is obviously appropriated from elsewhere, but the Japanese made it their own. So I took all this inspiration from across the world and made it into my own vocabulary." Whenever Ryan Lo shows us the world, it's always shining, shimmering, splendid, and this season — his last with NEWGEN — didn't disappoint. 

Weaving his trademark genie-in-a-bottle magic on characters from the Middle East, Lo's girls came out dressed in blossoming pantaloons with prints of magic lamps on one leg and manga character, Chibi Maruko-Chan on the other. Marabou-trimmed pirate hats by Stephen Jones sat on top of faces made up like Mulan; pretty, lace-scalloped dresses came with shorts underneath. "They're kind of like bermuda shorts, pirate shorts, quite tomboyish," Lo tells us (he's wearing a baby pink and blue Henry Holland T-shirt that says 'HOW LOW WOULD YOU GO FOR RYAN LO'). 

"This season I wasn't thinking about girls at all; the references were like jokers, pirates, Arabian nights. They're boys' characters on girls, so even the cocktail dresses have shorts." It was a collection that — without the pirate hats — was totally wearable. It was truly a mix of all the dreamiest parts of the dreamiest eras in history and fiction, not just the Middle East, but Turkey, Venice, and Victoriana, pulled together with all the taste and flavor of a katsu curry, only much better looking.


Text Felicity Kinsella
Photography Eleanor Hardwick

London Fashion Week
stephen jones
ryan lo
eleanor hardwick
spring/summer 17
ss 17