All three of today’s Fashion East designers, Caitlin Price, Richard Malone and Jenna Young, drew inspiration from their teenage years and childhood homes. The emotion really came through today, and it was rewarding to pop into various addresses on Greek Street and see what each designer had in store. Like three little fashion grottos, each venue was bought to life via design, music, and set design. Each achieved its own atmosphere – and one departed feeling you had witnessed something heartfelt.
I loved catching up with Jenna Young, at her label’s presentation for We Are The Uniform. What a joyously authentic designer. Her first season at Fashion East, we chatted all things Blackpool, and then Abbey Clancy walked in. I was well and truly in the North West. We laughed about how our mums used to buy us those ‘almost cool’ items, which left you bereft, as a teenager. Young’s sartorial horror story was being bought a tracksuit with four stripes instead of three; she never wore it. The designer laughed how this collection had been a form of therapy – hence, her cathartic obsession with the things she feels she sometimes missed out on. Reclaiming the past, she took the stripes and ribboned them, hanging them loose over white dresses or using them as strapping. One dress was covered in red badges. Young said that this linked into the idea too of desperately wanting to be part of a club – but still kind of managing to get it wrong. Technically, the thing she was most proud of is the latticed skirts and tops. They were made of thin rolled and hand stitched tubes of sweatshirt fabric.
Also inspired by teenage years, this season, Caitlin Price’s drum and bass angels landed dressed in pleated baby pink, blue and white tracksuits. Zippered bustiers and the most incredible marshmallow pink cropped bomber were top of the list for a warehouse rave in the clouds. There was a Grecian undercurrent to the collection; apron skirts swagged to the side were fit for a Kappa Queen, whilst a black dress with cut outs and shoulder draping evoked Tom Ford’s nineties obsession with neoclassical design.
Overall, Richard Malone displayed much more technical and avant-garde designs than the other two collections on show. However, the storytelling needed to be tighter – I am sure it all made sense, but there was so much to take in that a press release had difficulty packing it all in. This designer feels like he has so much to offer. A personal walk through - or a cleaner more digestible collection would have worked better. Stripes, curlicues and orange were too heavy within one look. The best was the simplest: a blancmange pink trouser and tunic.