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Show Report

Show Report: Ashish A/W 16 Womenswear

by Lucy Norris on 23 February 2016

Lucy Norris reports on the Ashish A/W 16 womenswear show.

Lucy Norris reports on the Ashish A/W 16 womenswear show.

The opening look appeared like a peaches and cream Barbie mirage. The top-to-toe iridescent sparkle tapped into some subconscious semiotic space for other low-brow late 20th century nostalgia toys – and a camp childlike idyll of glamour. An eighties style taupe sequin trench and some Lacroix style bows looked like Crystal Carrington was at the Carwash. Carwash with a Capital C, because the theme of this collection was D-I-S-C-O. The sound of heavy strips of paillettes swinging from spaghetti strap dresses was audible over the show music - whilst candy Afro wigs created a monochrome matchy-matchy vibe for each look. If you don't like sequins and a seventies revolving dance floor, count yourself out of this one. Ashish's medium is always sequins, but he sometimes combines them with other materials and embellishments. This season it was - for the main part - unapologetically one note. In a fashion industry where streetwear labels get frustrated with being referred to as streetwear, it was ironically the sportier pieces towards the end that felt the most luxe. It was the trousers, overall, that I could really see women wearing - cool, punkish women who would team them with heels, t-shirt and lavender hair. The long dresses were a tad too literal and repetitive - although we did get a lovely rainbow out of it, when all the models reappeared and stood in a row. Naturally, with every rainbow there's a Dorothy. One look evoked Gareth Pugh’s Leigh Bowery ode from last season. Same carpark, same red sequins, same London-centric joie-de-vivre. A super cool sherbet lilac crop top ensemble (a relief to see separates!) was so sugar sweet it made your teeth hurt, whilst two tone oil slick green dresses called to mind fishes swimming through an electric aquarium. With this vast ocean of sequins, and such an overriding theme, each monochrome ensemble was like a blank canvas - where the viewer was free to imagine a world within a world.

Alas, just as one woke up from some kind of Dreamgirls reverie, the sounds of Love to Love You Baby lifted up through the room and it was - apparently - all over . A seemingly left over look wandered out after this crescendo of sorts. It then transpired that this was actually abridging us to a more laid back section, which basically should have been the collection.  Doubtless, dresses are what the designer was commercially playing for - but the stuff that followed felt like fashion, rather than a showroom variety show. A canary coloured faux fur coat was awesome, and a sequin studded stole was like a tumblr trash take on ermine. PJ silhouettes, sequin T-shirts, cropped sweat pants and an oversized tracksuit hoody was the casual bend that this collection needed. Hence, this was a case in point of how streetwear isn't streetwear - it's where fashion needs to be. The same can be said of the shiny metallic embellishments - this label can't expect the world to keep coming to sequins. Sequins are best when they are part of our world.

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