Photography Mitchell Sams

richard malone creates “dresses to get laid in” for spring/summer 19

The former Fashion East designer had us lucid dreaming on Friday morning with an elevated take on the modern-day power woman.

by Matthew Whitehouse
14 September 2018, 3:24pm

Photography Mitchell Sams

The show notes to Richard Malone’s spring/summer 19 show open with a quote by Patti Smith. Offering up the best advice she ever got, from writer William S. Burroughs, the poet laureate of punk implores us to: “Build a good name. Keep your name clean. Don’t make compromises, don’t worry about making a bunch of money or being successful. Be concerned about doing good work. Protect your work and if you build a good name, eventually that name will be its own currency.”

It’s a manifesto the 28-year-old Richard clearly believes in. Since graduating from London's Cental St. Martins, the Wexford-born, Irish designer has peddled a kind of defiant normality that’s won plaudits from across the fashion industry. His pinstriped graduate collection bagged the LVMH Grand Prix scholarship in 2013 and, after a time in the Fashion East incubator, he’s been out on his own, doing proper big boy fashion shows (supported by NEWGEN), and never losing his steadfast belief in what it is that interests him (people in pubs, discarded rubbish, the weird contrast of high and low, normal and everything fucking but).

For this, his spring/summer 19 collection, there’s a sense of elevated glamour in the air. Not that all the attention has gone to his head -- no, no. It’s more that the turbo-tassels on the new tube skirts say “bad-taste Paris wine bar” more than they do “swift one down the local”. That the “dresses to get laid in” display a kind of couture-level technique, rather than the more straight-up functionality we’ve seen in the past. That the partnering with prestigious fabric house Taroni has brought with it a heightened sense of clarity: the collection’s layered but easy to get your head round -- and hot too.

“For me it’s always about elevating those things I grew up with,” Richard tells us after the show. “My dad’s uniform, my mum’s uniform and making them very beautiful.” To that end, you have a collection designed to both elevate and celebrate. The remarkable, lucid colors are inspired by “micro-fibre cloths -- those great ones you can bulk buy on Amazon” and the lavish, delicately cut fabrics pack more sustainable credentials that you could shake an ethically sourced stick at (the azo free dyes by Taroni, the recycled bags by Freitag, the use of Econyl, a kind of regenerative nylon you can repurpose over and over again).

More than anything though, what you continue to come back to is the idea that this is a collection designed with women at its centre: fabulous, creative and fearless to a T. “The woman in my head [this time] was quite glamorous,” says Richard. “Not someone who works at the company, but someone who owns the company.”


Photography Mitchell Sams

This article originally appeared on i-D UK.

richard malone
spring/summer 19 womenswear