Art School S/S 2020 London Fashion Week Men’s
Mood board: The show was held on the concrete, day-lit floor of the Truman Brewery, which has been the home to LFWM for a year; the stripped-back space served as a fitting backdrop to Art School’s take on restraint. The party isn’t over, but there was a new seriousness to the mood. Travelling back to London from Paris last season, Eden Loweth read Derek Jarman’s pensive diary Modern Nature, written after his HIV diagnosis in the late 1980s. The night before the show, designers Loweth and Tom Barrett had decided to hand out an entry dated ‘Friday 3’, printed on tomato red paper, in which British artist Maggi Hambling gave Jarman the phrase ‘modern nature’ to describe the detritus of smashed bottles, rusty metal and china plates the sea would bring to his door in Dungeness.
Scene setting: The LGBTQ+ community is, the designers said, under more threat than ever with attacks on queer people a daily occurrence in the news; the show was less fanciful than normal and the clothes had a solemn poeticism. The hand-painted leopard leather corsets, cotton nurse dresses and suiting were in black and white. Wool tailoring was slashed, feathers peaking through the tears. Marabou storks studded giant silver paillettes dresses. At the head of the catwalk, the English singer-songwriter Anna Calvi played guitar and sang while standing inside a circle of salt. Backstage, the duo talked about worship and wonder. ‘We wanted Anna to be stood inside this witches’ circle,’ they said. ‘What we always try and do is represent all of our models as if they are Naomi Campbell, we wanted to elevate them each to god-like levels.’
Sound bite: ‘Tom and I have been thinking about where we stand in the community, our voice and everyone we try to present each season. It was time to cut through all the frivolity and performance, and show something more direct,’ Loweth said. ‘We wanted to say something special. Quite often we think about the position that has been bestowed upon us. How can we can use that? When it comes to the show, this is what we’re saying: here are the people we are representing. This is us. It speaks for itself.’ §