Edward Crutchley: Pre-Cool Britannia fashion
A visual desertion on an era right before Britain began being cool again was the leitmotif for an impressive co-ed show by the new intellectual darling of UK fashion Edward Crutchley.
And, in a very real sense, a fashion collection for spring 2020 that was also a warning on the dangers of being overly sentimental about the past.
“In Europe at the moment we have a real cultural problem with nostalgia. We hang on to it, and Brexit and the rise of the Right is part of that longing for nostalgia. Why are we so nostalgic? So, this is early nineties before Brit Pop and the Young British Artists, that chintzy floral, twee and bourgeois,” explained Crutchley, after sending out a couple of dozen models into a tight grassy garden near Spitalfields Market.
Crutchley has made his reputation on jazzing up historical clothes. This season, he concentrated on creating subtly elegant fashion for boys and gals that lightly referenced British history from a quarter-of-a-century ago. Yet, always looked very modern.
For ladies, lovingly cut pantsuits over matching leather shoes with elaborate bows – courtesy of Christian Louboutin. Men’s pants were cut tight at the waist and billowing bellow, while jackets were broad shouldered and draped, recalling Rick Astley. The guys even had pageboy haircuts.
In between, Crutchley sent out some marvelous silk shirts with beautiful bird prints from ornithologist John James Audubon.
And when he did inject a little history with a few French courtesan ideas, the result was a wonderfully faded aubergine silk combo with pencil skirt, cape and multiple bows, topped by a magnificent Much Ado About Nothing silk turban from Stephen Jones.
One of the best side effects of the UK menswear season moving go East London is the discovery of some remarkable new show locations. Crutchley picked a novel setting, the Haberdashers' Hall, belonging to one of the great old guilds, or crafts, of medieval London. A grandiose setting in mint condition, since many of these guilds are very well financed by ground rents from City of London property.
“I saw this place that is post-minimalist, a contemporary cloister. So 90s, and the complete opposite of the historic opulence I have done before. I wanted polished and concise. I think you can have comfortable but with volume and still be incredibly chic. I wanted beauty and glamour and to look expensive. And I think I achieved that,” said the Scottish-born designer.
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