a river (phoenix) runs through ashley williams spring/summer 17
River Phoenix’s floppy bangs and eco-friendly essays, quirky 90s cinema, and an 80s teenage bedroom set by Tony Hornecker all played a part in making the designer's London Fashion Week presentation a winner.
Real cool clothes for real cool people: this was the name of the game at Ashley Williams' spring/summer 17 show. A procession of street cast models — which included fellow designer Claire Barrow and was led by i-D cover stars Adwoa Aboah and Fernanda Ly — navigated through a hyperreal 80s teenage bedroom set by Tony Hornecker wearing easy 'everyday' clothes, but ones you would wear on a really, really good day.
"We wanted to do things that were actually wearable, and the idea was: how you want to dress everyday, but you can't really be bothered!" Ashley told i-D backstage. That translated to long sleeve T-shirt dresses worn with bugle bead tassel bra tops; boxy 80s style skirt and trouser suits in grey check or a bright yellow floral print; frilled tie neck shirt dresses; cosy 'First Born' slogan knits and hoodies; graphic print leg of mutton sleeve cocktail dresses; and slouchy denim dungarees. Looks were topped off with Doom Generation-style black and white alien eye sunglasses, chunky gemstone jewelry, wide buckle belts, and double buckle brothel creeper sandals.
Copies of an essay written by River Phoenix for Earth Day in 1990, which opens with the lyrics for a song he wrote called "Betraying Mother," were handed out after the show. Williams explains that his teenage earnestness — and beautiful floppy bangs — were inspirations. The show notes offered several of his quotes, including musings on sexuality, the names Helen and Ashley — "they seem familiar to me, like I need to be with them" — and the mantra, "I would never do anything unless I believed in it."
Other influences include late 80s and early 90s films, and their Phil Collins soundtracks. One of Ashley's models sat chilling in an armchair watching the John Waters film Serial Mom throughout the show, but you really shouldn't stay home if you look this good.
Text Charlotte Gush
Photography Eleanor Hardwick