An American in London, Michael Halpern has got a lot of people talking of late. He has been credited with bringing glitziness back into the corners of our fashion consciousness. Showing his third collection after graduating from Central Saint Martin’s in 2016, Halpern has thrown a smattering of sequins on the schedule. Love him or hate him for that, his work is unapologetically glamorous. For A/W 18, he announced his take on glamour to be 'inappropriate'.
'People need escapism,' says Halpern. When designing this collection, Trump’s move to ban transgender people in the military was in the news and the designer wanted to take himself away with his work. Escape we did, to a time of seventies glamour and Studio 54. Donna Summer played out as sequinned flares and satin bustiers with asymmetric trim marched past. Thin sunglasses and slicked back ponytails elevated the contrasting prints; trousers and jumpsuits had one leg zebra and one leg boldly colourful, undeniably brave pieces.
Halpern has amassed a fierce female following. His women are powerful, confident. His work has been worn by the likes of Beyonce and Lupita Nyong'o. Citing both Nan Kempner and Anjelica Huston as his inspirations for this collection, Halpern looks to the girl who doesn’t give a shit. The woman who’ll wear a bubble dress to brunch and hop on the tube in sparkling zebra prints. His customer doesn’t care if sequins in the day are 'inappropriate'.
Halpern was hired by Donatella to work at Atelier Versace not long after completing his Master’s and this influence was evident in the collection. He brought in his couture training, mixing a dose of disco and a dollop of fun. The girls looked undeniably gorgeous, their lithe bodies holding each exquisite cut. The matching thigh-high Louboutin boots and red-heeled mules were also incredible, making the long-legged models look even longer.
I asked a bone-fide Halpern girl what she thought of the collection, knowing that deep down inside, sequins aren’t for me. ‘Each model beamed a knowing smile of “God, I look fabulous” in the finale line-up. Of course, they did! In Halpern, you feel it and you know it,’ she said. The high-octane glamour Halpern is peddling is addictive. It’s sexy and I hope it can be maintained. Maybe without sequins next time.