Art School autumn/winter 2019 collection show opens London Fashion Week Men’s for LFWM
For their debut standalone London Fashion Week Men’s show, Art School’s dynamic duo Eden Loweth and Tom Barratt’s cohort of models embodied designs of camp, rambunctious modernism, depicting expression without rules or the boundaries of gender norms.
A celebration of queerness and inclusivity, each look drew emphasis towards the bodily form: whether cisgendered, trans or non-binary, the designs and cuts mirrored the fluidity of the body of whom it was worn on. Tailored jackets formed both boxy and sculpted silhouettes. One particular design was coined by the duo as the “dagger dress”, and it was instantly apparent why: fabricated with either black silk or decadent pink jacquard, the dress was cut on the bias, rushed slightly at the waist, warping and welting the fabric to fall diagonally across the body until coming to a sharp, slanted hemline jutting out at the knees.
Fabrics were often richly tactile, as seen in a foiled gold leather trench coat and a black corset bound over a workshirt, illustrious, cracked textures. A plush plum velvet skirt was split at the thigh, but not in the way you would think: instead, the convex cutout begun at the top of the skirt and ended halfway down the thigh, exposing the body. It was nuances like this that demonstrated Art School’s ability to flip conventional design on its head.
The collection showcased work with previous collaborator, Gina Shoes, producing cobalt blue laced stiletto boots and heels lined with acid pink feathers. Meanwhile, hair sculptures encompassed found articles interwoven with human hair. Created from disregarded, repurposed lost property from queer safe spaces across London, it showed what was close to Loweth and Barratt’s hearts. Meanwhile, the odd flash of neon pink or lurid green made a nod to the 80s.
The expressive choreography by collaborator Holly Blakey referenced Nick Knight’s iconic image, Blade of Light (2004). Continuing to concern themselves with motion and otherworldly antagonism, as an emerging brand, Art School have only just begun to redefine the limitations of design.
Photos: Huw Jenkins