Mad About The Boy, on display at the Fashion Space Gallery from 8 January to 2 April 2016, explored fashion’s obsession with youth, focusing on the way ideas of the teenage boy are constructed through specific collections and fashion images. It was the first exhibition curated by SHOWstudio editor Lou Stoppard. Sparked by the success of designers like Hedi Slimane at Saint Laurent, Raf Simons and Gosha Rubchinskiy – all of whom seem to share a fixation with youth culture – the exhibition set out to examine the tropes and parallels within fashion’s treatment of youth, unpicking the many notions of the young male that feature in fashion’s imagination, from outsider to sexual fantasy to reveller. It presented the work of a variety of designers and image-makers, current as well as select examples from the seventies, eighties and nineties, for whom the boy provides a constant source of inspiration. Testimony about masculinity and youth was also included to shed light on the sense of fluidity and possibility that many associate with teenage years – a time of perceived infinite opportunity, spontaneity and creative freedom.
Designers and contributors featured included Raf Simons, Kim Jones, Meadham Kirchhoff, Larry Clark, Nick Knight, Nasir Mazhar, Tyrone Lebon, Christopher Shannon, Martine Rose, Gosha Rubchinskiy, Alasdair McLellan, Jason Evans, Jun Takahashi, Judy Blame, Patrick Robyn, Sibling, Glen Luchford, Brett Lloyd, Mark Leckey and J.W. Anderson.
The exhibition was designed by Tony Hornecker, the man behind Meadham Kirchhoff’s show sets. Install shots are displayed here, alongside the essays that featured in the exhibition as sheets which visitors could take away. The exhibition was curated around key sections, which responded to constant themes that Stoppard identified during her research - The Boy as Outsider, The Boy in the Club, The Boy in the Street, to name a few. Also released here is a sound piece that played throughout the gallery.
As part of the gallery's event programme to coincide with the exhibition, two talks were held, one featuring Charlie Porter and Nasir Mazhar, and the other featuring curator Stoppard alongside Mark Leckey and Jason Evans. Footage of the discussions is available exclusively here.