Charles Jeffrey Loverboy: a manifesto for nature, Scotland and positive change
Charles Jeffrey Loverboy staged a show that was as theatrical as we’ve come to expect from the label on the first day of London Fashion Week Men’s on Saturday.
A CD-covered tree trunk topped by a disco ball made a statement about nature that underlined Jeffrey’s current thinking about what’s happening to the planet, society and fashion.
In the notes accompanying the show, he laid into those who’ve created the current climate catastrophe and offered up a 'conscious practice' manifesto that was all about respecting both the environment and the people the brand relies on.
That means the story behind the collection was just as important as each catwalk look, and that story was about recyclable packaging, more local sourcing, fewer chemicals, and more sustainable fabrics. Jeffrey has never held back from taking a stand on issues he feels strongly about so an eco and ethical commitment is no surprise. But where did it leave the clothes?
Well, this was both a men’s and women’s show and what we were offered was as in-your-face as we’ve come to expect from the label. There was plenty to see that would be rather challenging to wear, summed up by the extreme shape of his pannier skirts.
But, influenced by Jeffrey’s native Scotland (particularly the Orkneys and the Glasgow arts and crafts movement), there was also a strong vein of commercialism running throughout. That should go down as well with the buyers at big-name retailers like Matchesfashion or Browns.
The fantasy toadstool print on men’s denim separates or a women’s asymmetric skirt suit had instant hanger appeal, while the searingly bright men’s track jacket-jogger combo, or vivid sweater, tapped a strong trend for colour blocking mixed with abstract patterning. And of course, the Loverboy logo that’s a key feature of his collections took centre stage here too.
Brightly coloured relaxed separates, in a signature 'pagan nature’ print seemed to reference the beauty of the planet (from its geology to the night sky or an enchanted forest) and underlined Jeffrey’s eco focus while evolving the painterly prints for which he’s known.
For women, there were covetable dresses with a boho edge in florals influenced by the arts and crafts print styling of artist Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh. Their full, fluid sleeves and drawcord details trimmed with stylised flowers added to the feeling of wandering through a wild Scottish landscape.
The pagan nature pattern resurfaced for dresses and pleated skirts (proving that the latter is nowhere near the end of its trend cycle), while Jeffrey’s deft touch with tailoring came out in tartan or floral print pantsuits.
And let’s not ignore the details and the accessories. The heart, whether it came as a cut-out, a panel, a frilled appliqué or a clutch bag, was a key detail, while leather buckle fastenings appeared on tailoring and more casual pieces.
Meanwhile horse brass collars, giant safety pin clasps, pastel toned berets and chunky trailing scarves, meant there was plenty to choose from for anyone seeking instant commerciality.
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