Claire Barrow autumn/winter 2016 collection presentation for LFWLondon Fashion Week AW16
For the Retro-Spective autumn/winter 2016 collection, Claire Barrow took her avid fashion followers to the Institute of Contemporary Arts, to amplify the nostalgia within her latest collection by the very use of a museum-like or “historic” setting. Models of all genders, shapes and sizes, as well as mannequins presented the pieces which felt feminine and yet questioning, seeming to ask of the onlooker far more about our understanding and preconceptions of what it is to be a woman. Barrow asked questions about the fairytale ideal of a wedding dress, about sexuality, loss and anger, though maintained a playful style which also certain theatricality to it.
By using a multiplicity and bricolage approach, Barrow borrowed and recreated 80s and 90s shapes and fabrics to form her aesthetic. Frills at necklines and oversized at sleeves of gypsy, batwing cotton tops, taupe velvet flares, huge tent-like canvas hand-painted dresses and a standout pink polo sweater with asymmetric gathers filled the room. Leggings and oversized sporty jersey jumpers were emblazoned repetitively with her signature illustrative prints daubed. The scent of lavender and rosemary by Agraria, dirty Doc Martens-style white sandals and a soundtrack of Spice Girls’ Viva Forever and Mysterious Times by Sash! further emphasised perhaps even a longing for childhood or the past.
The museum idea of documenting was extended with each garment containing a description, year, and accreditation whilst alongside a series of three films which were intriguing in themselves; collaborations with artist Liv Fontaine, prodigious directorial talent of 13-year-old Duke Brooks and photographer Alice Neale. Barrow highlighted the postmodern concerns of nostalgia and blatant pastiche, by knowingly upturning them to comment on the constant regurgitation and direct references used from subcultures of different fashion eras, so prevalent within visual culture today.
This was as much a collection as it was a seminal art show for Barrow, with the ideas and concept as important as the garments themselves.
Photos: Olesya Asanova