Charles Jeffrey LOVERBOY A/W 2019 London Fashion Week Mens
Mood board: The daring of Cecil Beaton’s Bright Young Things met millennial mettle. Influences for the season were drawn from a 1923 first-edition copy of J.M Barrie’s The Story of Peter Pan and its gang of lost boys not quite sure of what, or who they are. The season looked to story-telling, travelling back in time to a magical, rugged wonderland far from the gloom of reality. Naysayers to Jeffrey’s playful extravagance will find a lot to wear here. The label’s signature tartan was cut into neat, smart three-button suits and generous mohair coats with hand-stitched chain seams. Kilt pleats subtly revealed themselves from the vents of trench-coats; cargo pants had a strip of embroidered silk chiffon trailing from the waist.
Scene setting: Between 2000-2013, the immense Hydraulic Power Station in Wapping was the pioneering arts and performance space in London, hosting a number of important exhibitions, a fine restaurant and a small bookshop housed inside a greenhouse. Until Jeffrey filled it with the merriment of his latest and greatest collection to date, it has stood empty for six years. Guests entered the Victorian brick building to clusters of dancers, each performing on top of the original factory machinery, channeling the spirit of the season – a broken Narnia. Inside the show space, set designer Simon Costin created a scene filled with derelict decadence; a roll-top bath full of the yellowing pages of old books; a pile of limp mattresses thrown on the floor. Antique coat stands had been turned into fanciful vanity trees, studded with round mirrors and rotten lipsticks. Outside, a perambulator spat flames.
Team work: The performance was directed by long-standing collaborator Theo Adams and choreographed by Jordan Robson. With their frothy, infectious revelry, Jeffrey’s shows seize on the spirit and verve of 1990s London, a time when the city seemed like the centre of fashion. A time of pushing back against norms. An unbuttoning of uniforms. A shifting of politics. Jeffrey’s approach has always been collaborative – there is strength a numbers after all. A hand-drawn sign taped to a steel door read ‘Tim Walker Studio’. And a new generation of London’s bright young things starred in the show. Milliner Leo Carlton, Central Saint Martins MA Fashion student Matthew Needham and jeweller Luke V Smith each performed on their own whimsical spots, as the models powered through Jeffrey’s extravagant, exquisite never-never land. §