Fashion East is the last bastion of cheery, happy fashion shows. Now that most guests’ hands are full with at least one device (I saw a guy holding a phone in each, Wild West duel-style) recording and tweeting every last detail (including the all important selfies, of course) shows end in a rather anticlimactic way, the odd sad clap breaking the silence. Not at a Fashion East show though! People cheer and wolf-whistle and stand up and clap their little hearts away and I swear I saw someone punch the air today. Ashley Williams, the new addition to the show’s line-up (this being the second season for Claire Barrow and Ryan Lo), even had a mini fan club that managed to cheer and film the whole damn thing. Now, that’s impressive!
Claire Barrow opened the proceedings but her hand-painted leather jackets did not make an appearance. A good move – this is the time to play around and try new things, this being just her second collection, by the way. Instead she turned her attention to the mundane. As always, the mundane is rather more subversive than it initially appears. Just ask Iggy Pop whose “I’m bored” set the mood. A big knit cocoon of a dress was accompanied by…a fish. A long velvet dress came with a watering can for a bag. But even the lampshade as hat (and mask) did not distract from the moody mint green and black crinoline gown it accompanied.
I have two names for you: Bridget Jones and Ally McBeal. And one song: I Need A Hero. Doesn’t this already sound like a Sunday afternoon movie you’re dying to see? Ryan Lo’s unlucky-in-love gal daydreams on her way to work in her feathery pink power suit about meeting The One while wearing a, yes, pink shimmery and frill slip dress. A lot of skill was on display here – Lo’s version of the season’s ubiquitous pastel-hued fluffy coat was as good as any we’ve seen all week.
Ashley William’s debut at Fashion East could not have gone any better. Her version of Elvis-obsessed Americana was both fantastically executed and fun. A prim orange A-line coat with a clashing neon green collar (teddy bear swinging from the girl’s arm) was great and so were an easy tee-shaped dress featuring Elvis’ pretty face and a white shirtdress with a ‘Celebrate’ lipstick print. Definitely one to watch.