Individuality is what people come to London for, and no designer on the London schedule is more individual than Louise Gray. Her name is something of a misnomer: there's nothing grey about Gray, her work vibrates with colour and pattern, resounds with energy.
For spring 2012, Gray looked to other exceptional individuals to inspire her collection - a roll-call including Gypsy Rose Lee, Gala Dali and Poly Styrene of the X-Ray Spex. Mash their wardrobes together and what do you get? Gray's collection, a riot of pattern, colour and print topped with Nasir Mazhar hats like crunched-up paper and bottomed by platform Pollini flats (a mini-trend emerging thick and fast - pardon the pun - in London town). As always, Gray's collection was a riot, in every sense of the word. Does anyone else remember nineties children's television stalwart Itsa Bitsa? The conceit was to construct ambitious assemblages from random fragments of detritus, splatter them with rainbow-bright colour and have a whole lot of fun in the process. Apply that formula to fashion, and you have Gray's show.
The really ingenious thing about Gray though is the fact that her clothes are so eminently wearable. The craziness is always controlled enough for you to abstract instantly covetable articles from the mix. For spring, those include inside-out tweed trenches veiled in PVC, fluttery panelled skirts splashed with graphic print, and next season's striped pyjamas, here top and bottom mis-matched and over-painted. Idiosyncratic though they seem, those are Gray classics. But have you ever seen her do a nubby tweed suit in flour green-and-pink before? Or how about a few witty Chanel-alike handbags, frayed at the seams, trailing chains and crusted with sequinned hundreds-and-thousands. The title said it all: 'Trust Me.' Trust is essential when looking at Gray's clothes, trusting her maximalist instinct to pile it on, wipe off any excess, and create stand-out, shout-out pieces ripe for any modern woman's wardrobe.