Although I wouldn’t have anything against big-venue high-glam shows like the ones at Burberry or Paul Smith, there is a true excitement about going to dark, shabby places that lead you under the ground. Judging by Emily Sheffield’s (deputy editor at Vogue UK) words at the Vogue’s Fashion Night Out event at Selfridges (a conversation with the talented and extremely nice Erdem) – opaque, dodgy places is what London was all about 10 years ago. That kind of a throwback really sings an ode to the past new-generation (Kane, Roksanda, Erdem, Katrantzou etc.) and gives a true scent of the up-and-coming, a fresh now-generation just waiting to become part of the LFW household.
One of those places (although you can’t really call Marylebone dodgy) was Theatre Delicatessen in Marylebone Gardens, hosting a multimedia presentation of Claire Barrow’s Spring/Summer 2015 collection named Tender Love and Care. This high-end D.I.Y.-er (she insists on the D.I.Y. part herself) has already been loved by the young and cool, those that party in East London and attend the Fashion East shows – but thanks to Topshop’s NEWGEN project (same one Faustine Steinmetz was part of), she got to show her collection separately second season in a row.
Her vision of super-heroines in the bodies of post-apocalyptic nurses that go on saving the world provided the audience with a true visual feast as her cuts and silhouettes were more elaborate than ever before, accompanied with the graphic prints telling a narrative of its own. The apocalypse of the Western world as we know it today was a true leitmotif – unfinished & rough edges, almost-holistic hand-painting graphics and a strong feministic, armour-y approach towards clothing spoke truly loudly, without using any loud colours. Matching illustrated footwear were really another stand-out moment for the designer - a product of an exclusive collaboration with Purified Footwear added a perfect touch of prim to her rebellious story. She even threw in a couple of menswear looks (although androgyny is not an unfamiliar word in Claire Barrow dictionary) which I responded to with inner claps (the atmosphere was kinda serious so a mini-applause was a definite no). Aside the dark-room fashion show, she showed a fashion film showcasing her current collection (directed by Theo Sion, starring Eve Stainton) which was an interesting approach and a rich addition to completing a story of branding for such a young designer.
Designers like Claire truly put a smile on my face, and are a rightful middle-finger-in-the-air to anyone who says that London has become a commercial capital. As long as you’ve got buzzing ideas like these – you can’t really go wrong...
Claire Barrow SS15 from Claire Barrow on Vimeo.