Two for a pound! Three for a fiver! Sounds of a bustling market called out amongst the set of rolled fabrics and carpets piled high on Richard Malone’s runway this morning. It was the magic of a marketplace; stalls and traders - Malone’s aunts in Wexford, Ireland included as reference - tat and treasure, bric-a-brac, feisty hustlers - Malone's grandmother a cited example of the latter. The notes read of 'twin themes of community and common purpose'. 'Purpose' is perhaps the perfect word for this collection. It was purposeful, refined, punchy. These clothes had a push and a pull. Whereas S/S 18 had been a pop of youth and canary yellow, A/W 18 was a leap and bound into maturity, a seamless progression for Malone. If previous collections’ slender silhouettes and form-fitting dresses have felt a little too adolescent and spritely, the latest offering was the most successful of all graduations. Indeed, the cinched waists and sculptural sleeves would be sumptuous on a mature consumer. But then, Malone has always had an eye for the female form, even the most flamboyant of his cuts here - that double spiralled dress for example - are made for the female figure. In fact, throughout the collection, no seams were straight, to ensure all lines are smooth to the body.
The movement in the garments was fiercely strong, heightened by the shapes and lines that forced the eye to trace the body. Malone’s signature flares swished and kicked, shoulder folds bounced, new and impressive chunky heeled boots stamped and strutted and long loose ribbons from aprons whistled as they danced. A symphony of motion - much akin to that of a busy market, in fact. Bonnets, bibs and an almost tea-towel like pattern nodded to the buzz of stalls and vendors. Dappled rosy cheeks hinted to an Irish lass, flushed from the cold winds and a hard morning's haggle. Malone’s blue, an obsession of his, was rivalled with an evolved palette of deep greens and reds which both clashed and harmonised with the fantasia of check, stripe and piping.
These are decidedly feminine clothes but ones that embody an underlying strength. The woman who's unassuming, the woman who hustles, the woman who protects - all here, figuratively and literally, as Rihanna’s Bitch Better Have My Money played out the finale and Malone’s eighty-five-year-old grandmother, Nellie Malone, cheered from the front row.