richard malone takes us all for a pint for spring/summer 18

Inspired by showgirls mingling with pub locals and opera fans descending on his bemused hometown, the Irish-born, London-based designer wasn’t afraid to mix high with low, glam with grime.

by Steve Salter; photos by Mitchell Sams
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Sep 16 2017, 11:41am

"I was thinking about people in pubs," a thirsty Richard Malone explained backstage. "Where I come from, you're in the pub from your early teens, and inside that's where I watched all sorts of people socialising, a mix of of all ages. I can remember their conversations about people's looks." These memories resulted in an exploration of "weird contrasts". The resulting narrative playfully probed and juxtaposed two scenes -- the exotic showgirl costumes of the 30s and 40s against iPhone snapshots of discarded rubbish in the street -- which was cleverly echoed by the live orchestra playing hip hop classics.

As the strings section strummed Still D.R.E., references danced and weaved between almost threadbare dance costumes, Wartime reunions between soldiers and their wives, London Underground's Picadilly line, opera festivals and discount stores in Wexford, Ireland – Malone's hometown. The idea of settings, or environments grounded the collection in reality. Whereas many of his emerging contemporaries daydream of far-flung fantasies, this young talent is fascinated by the real world. Here, everything revolved around the interaction between different cliques of women grouped together -- most likely, in a pub.

"It's so important for me to design garments that are non-restrictive. I'm very lucky to work with clients and I'm aware of their reality, the garments have to be functional. That's really interesting to me. It helps to see my clothes worn by different generations of women."

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