London Fashion Week Men’s opens fluidly with Art School
The opening look of this weekend’s UK men’s wear season was a bias cut black satin, one-shouldered dress, as London Fashion Week Men’s (LFWM) debuted the runway action with Art School.
Welcome to the era of gender fluidity – of the most inclusive sort. The Art School design duo of Eden Loweth and Tom Barratt are all about keeping doors open to otherness, especially in this show, their brand’s individual catwalk debut.
Very deliberately blurring the boundaries between sexes, looking at the cast it was hard to know who began life as a man or a woman in this show. But that was precisely the point.
Well-cut, albeit hairy legs, marching in sling-backs trimmed with faux fur from Gina Shoes, worn underneath bright pink or dazzling purple jacquard dresses, cut with couture care.
Color co-ordination throughout – a bearded figure with a jacquard skirt in the exact same Imperial Roman purple as his well trimmed beard and haircut. Finished with a black T-Shirt reading Art School Drop Out, on this gent walking proudly down a massive brick space. The show was staged in LFWM’s new center of action, the Old Truman Brewery deep in the heart of Brick Lane, the funky and fashionable zone just north of the City of London.
A superb mock croc bustier worn by a non-binary chap with black serge pants, high-heels, black nail varnish and a black Swarovski crystal necklace by a creator described in the program notes as “queer artist Dominic Myatt.” Or a re-purposed, molded and foiled gold leather suit – with skirt and safari jacket – that was pretty sensational.
About the most traditionally mannish look was a dashing, crisp white cotton, though this in turn was worn with a pleated black skirt. Precious little traditionally menswear, but lots of new ideas; little wonder that Art School were nominated for the Emerging Talent Menswear Award at The Fashion Awards in London in December 2018.
“It’s our dialogue with ourselves and our community. It’s about being proud and standing for who we are,” said Loweth in the backstage, his hair dyed a gentle shade of shamrock green.
Art School ended the show with a model in a bout of jerky dancing almost like an epileptic fit, before the entire cast carefully joined her, and posed in a tableau. Gently touching each other’s braids, backs and shoulders, a community being very affectionate to itself.
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