For Spring/Summer 2016, Raf Simons paid tribute to British artist Mark Leckey’s film Fiorucci Made Me Hardcore, referencing the uniform of Northern Soul revellers with crop tops, hand-me-down knits and wide flared trousers. Simons is one of many designers who have drawn on night-time pursuits and teenager revelry. From Gareth Pugh’s odes to Leigh Bowery, to the frequent references to the now-infamous Madchester music scene and the Hacienda venue, club culture is one of the most pervasive inspirations in fashion.
The pastimes of the male youth dominated fashion imagery in the years around and after Leckey’s original film, in work by the likes of photographer Jason Evans, who documented the style of UK clubbers in the nineties, often while street casting for other image-makers, and designers Martine Rose and Christopher Shannon, who treat the habits and hangouts of youth as something complex, beautiful and nuanced.
In fashion magazines, particular attention is paid to the figures and movements that youths deem interesting – from the bands they listen to, to the dance floors they frequent. Many creative practitioners obsessively revisit their own teen interests, conjuring for themselves a new kind of access to the clubs and parties they idolised. When reviewing Jun Takahashi’s Spring/Summer 2015 Undercover collection, Tim Blanks noted, 'the fanboy situation in fashion is endlessly mesmerizing. Marc, Raf, Hedi – all these grown men given huge resources to flex their adolescent fascinations.' The preconception of culture with targeting and obsessing over the young is both explored and, ironically, upheld by fashion’s commitment to keeping the party alive on the catwalk.
Objects featured in this section of the Mad About The Boy exhibition:
- Mark Leckey, Fiorucci Made Me Hardcore, 1999. Courtesy of Mark Leckey.
- Raf Simons, Spring/Summer 2016. Courtesy of Raf Simons.
- Christopher Shannon, Spring/Summer 2016. Courtesy of Christopher Shannon.
- Judy Blame, Embellished Pins For Christopher Shannon, Spring/Summer 2016.
Courtesy of Judy Blame.
- Martine Rose, Spring/Summer 2015. Courtesy of Martine Rose.
- Jason Evans, Untitled (at 'Anokha' at The Blue Note, London), C-type, 1996. Courtesy of Jason Evans.
- Jason Evans, Untitled, C-type, 1996. Courtesy of Jason Evans.