London Fashion Week: The Agency ELEVEN Highlights
Beyond the strict boundaries of gender or season, this month’s London Fashion Week is about embracing individuality and showcasing personal stories that have been brewing for the past few months. These are some of our favourite moments from LFW…
AHLUWALIA SS22: Parts of Me
With a fresh BFC/GQ Menswear Fund win under her belt, Priya Ahluwalia gave us Parts of Me, a highly personal, yet probably one of her most commercial collections yet. This season, she was inspired by the beauty of Black and Brown hair – the structural lines as well as all the effort and time that goes into their expression. Priya herself is known for always using hair as an extension of her being – it’s a part of her that constantly changes and evolves. For this collection, she took that love and transformed it into garment form.
Inspired by vintage hair salon posters and photography of the late Nigerian lensman J.D. Okhai Ojeikere, the clothes explored the sculptural elements of hair art through form and colour. Silhouettes of afro combs and braided hair models were scattered throughout the collection as embroidery badges encrusting the pieces. Using her re-working methods of deadstock and vintage textiles, Priya revisited some of her classic shapes which live somewhere in between fancy sportswear and casual formalwear. A new addition is a strong womenswear offering, which follows the brand’s recent collaboration with Scandi superbrand Ganni.
Ahluwalia SS22: Parts of Me; Photographs by Laurence Ellis
Another piece of newness for this season is a collaboration with heritage British leatherwear brand Mulberry – a capsule collection of 12 reworked Portobello bags in a range of sizes and four scarf designs that correspond to the Ahluwalia’s design signatures. The cross-body tote bag hybrid shapes perfectly play into the unisex spirit of the brand, and will be launching on Mulberry’s website and in-stores later this month.
The lookbook photographs, shot by Laurence Ellis, are accompanied by a film directed by BAFTA-nominated Akinola Davies Jr. in a meditative exploration of Ahluwalia’s inspirations and their influence on the world.
PUBLISHED BY SS22: Forage
From one major bag moment to another one. Published By are known for their shiny handheld sculptures that also happen to be functional bags: the Austrian brand has taken the world by storm thanks to a whole set of unique processes that are behind their stunning designs. From using car waste to 3-D modelling their designs and producing their pieces in a demand-based way in order to avoid further waste, the label’s founder Christoph Tsetinis established a progressive narrative around his work. This season, he is going one step further by creating bags that belong in the great outdoors. Yes, Published By are now making hiking gear – well, sort of.
The new bag designs continue to embody the artistic qualities that sit at the brand’s core, but are now explored with bucolic inspirations in mind. Fueled by a trip to his Alpine hometown of Kuchl, Tsetinis used elements of foraging to embody the idea of the world opening back up and allowing us to move around. Organic embellishments moulded in sterling silver are clinging onto the Mini Shell Tote like moss wraps itself around a tree trunk, while the opening of the Mayzie bag resembles a Venus fly trap feeding on its prey. In the Published by world, though, the prey consists of a phone and a set of keys. The standout piece in the collection is the new Arabella bag – a large tote shape in the softest nappa leather with a glistening 3-D-modelled handle embellishing its simple shape. And for all those outdoors emergencies, there’s even a lighter sculpted into a silver pebble-shape. May the new season of lamping begin!
PARC SS22: Parc Life
Craving a little boot scootin’ boogie, like the rest of the world? Parc has got you covered. This emerging London-based party brand ran by Anthony Campbell and Paul Rawson is embodying all the FOMO that accumulated after being stuck indoors for the past 127 years (okay it’s just over a year, but it feels like way longer). Showing where their vivid prints and neon hues belong, this duo collaborated with High Fashion Talk’s Iolo Edwards on a film that offers a quick trip into a safe space where fun rules the world. The video captures a cast of over a 100 people scouted through their community, dancing away to the hardcore beats curated by Sasa Crnobrnja. All of the individuals style the Parc pieces themselves, incorporating their personal style into the mix.
By showing their collection this way, Parc moves away from the rigid fashion ideas of ‘full looks’ and push the boundaries of showing presentations in a more honest, personal way. From a design point-of-view, Anthony and Pauk are led by colour and print, with streamlined silhouettes and sportswear elements allowing the visual impact of textiles to be the star of the show. This is pure techno rave gear – just waiting for the next party to be announced.
After a pretty dark expression of their momentary mood for AW21, JORDANLUCA are back with another emotional rollercoaster of a collection. Always led by the feelings that transpired over the course of designing the clothes, Luca Marchetto and Jordan Bowen have established a way of working that could almost be described as primal. Anger, grief, longing, joy and elation – all of these personal experiences collide in a creative outing that climaxes in a triumphant celebration of life. Accepting those experiences as vulnerable moments, Luca and Jordan continue to reimagine masculine shapes with highly embellished elements and historical references that go beyond the contemporary ideas of menswear.
A rich colour palette includes vibrant hues of the sunset along with some soft jade green and the stark contrast of black and white. The eclectic mix continues with the silhouettes which represent all of the extremes – the shorts are very short, transformed into knit singlets and joined by oversized tailoring. In another highlight of the collection, the outerwear hits the floor and trails behind like a gown in a shiny scarlet satin fabric, once again questioning tradition.
In their own process of commemorating the punk movement, JORDANLUCA embellished some of their designs by stitching lines of the Union Jack flag with raw edges, bringing a sense of DIY to their elevated stories. With each look approached individually, they represent a sense of rebirth the designers have been going through recently. But they aren’t interested in looking back and dwelling on it – they use these garments as an opportunity to take things forward. Poetic, powerful and beautiful.
NICHOLAS DALEY & NOW Gallery: RETURN TO THE SLYGO
While the fashion industry could definitely be described as impatient, some things are definitely worth waiting for. One of those was Nicholas Daley’s exhibition at NOW Gallery, which originally planned to open in December 2020. Titled Return To Slygo, the show explores individual facets of the brand through spotlighting the community of collaborators that define Nicholas Daley as a brand. As he describes it himself, it brings together three of the brand’s core values – community, culture and craft. While you still have another few weeks to experience the exhibition yourself, which is on at the Greenwich Peninsula space until July 4th, Nicholas is bringing a piece of the story to the digital realm via his London Fashion Week film.
Directed by Akinola Davies Jr. and styled by Nicholas himself, the film explores the cross-generational relationship of Black British music artists. Featuring the talents of Sons of Kemet and Nubya Garcia with a special score by Dennis Bovell and poetry by Roger Robinson, the moving image captures the philosophy of Nicholas Daley’s artistic expression. Yes, the clothes are beautifully made and bring some important cultural references into conversation. But it’s the people that wear them that make these designs representative of a brighter future.
Per Götesson Launches E-Com
Every artist comes to a point when there is so much great work behind them that their fans crave for a ‘Best Of’ album. Per Götesson is living through this moment, as he launches an immersive e-commerce platform bound to become a cult shopping destination for special launches and exciting re-issues. This deeply personal retrospective takes shape in a video that brings back the highlights from his past collections. They are expressed through topics of brotherhood and intimacy, reflecting on the tight-knit Per Götesson community that helped shape the brand over the past five years.
The film, created in collaboration with Acult Studios, features the label’s signature faces of Sam Jamieson and Visionist interacting while dressed in the finest examples of Per Götesson classics. All of the pieces from the video will be available on the website in very limited quantities as Per continues to celebrate the couture-like approach to design that opposes the mass market evolution. These aren’t just clothes – they are personal memories, revisited in a way that addresses the idea of a modern man and his wardrobe.
Check out Per Götesson’s website at pergotesson.com.