Lindley Hall, Victoria. 21st February 2016.
Skirting gingerly round Anya Hindmarch’s vast checkerboard arena of a set to clamber into seats, it was hard to know what was going to happen. There were no openings, no runway, no focal point in all that pristine whiteness. But then the show kicked off – and the grid cracked, with giant, glowing sugar-cubes careening off into the centre of the space, blossoming into candy colours as the models filed out. Hindmarch is known for her energetic stagings – but in seasons past, those stagings have magnified and focused on the collections themselves. This time, the vibrant clothes and accessories got a little lost in the spectacle itself. But what a spectacle . . .
Victoria House, Bloomsbury Square. 10th January 2015.
Think Pink! After a long day’s ricocheting between New Oxford Street and Bloomsbury Square, the last thing anyone was prepared for was colour – or at least, such utterly single-minded colour. The shows, till then, had all been tastefully concise on that point; a splash of blue, a hint of yellow, a neat jolt of red. But from the instant The Runaways’ ‘Cherry Bomb’ exploded through Victoria House’s low basement catwalk space, and the first model swerved onto the runway in – pink trousers, pink-striped school blazer, pink gloves and shoes, clutching a giant, floppily-knitted pink teddy bear, there was only one way for the collection to go. It was a riot – the label’s usual parade of buff boys with bubblegum quiffs and impossible eight-packs, their dapper Sebastian Flyte tailoring swamped in pink latex, goat-hair and wool. It was punk dipped in candy-floss. And it was the happiest moment of the week.
Westminster Kingsway College, Soho. 22nd February 2016.
The day had gotten colder and colder. Near the end, down a tucked-away backstreet behind the Brewer Street car park, Toogood staged their first London presentation. Flight after flight of stairs lined with whitewashed brick and college-cheery lino. And then out onto across a dark, breezy expanse of roof, past a flickering fire, to a glass fronted attic. Inside, models stood spaced out against mildewed walls, in front of blown-up prints of scavenged objects. To get to them, though, you had to navigate trays of ripening bread and a small battalion of dancers. Up close, all there seemed to be were lab coats – loose, ambivalent, chalky white or dark-drab, festooned with ties and fragments of bone. In the midst of the fashion week whirl, it was a moment of still, weird seriousness.