The Fashion East show, this season showcasing Supriya Lele, Asai and Matty Bovan, is often a reflection of cultural ongoings or mood. For S/S 18, the offering was a confident comment on culture, heritage and escapism.
Royal College of Art graduate Supriya Lele's second season under the Fashion East umbrella was again a reference to her Indian heritage - her last collection commented on her British Asian identity also. This time Lele was looking toward the speed of development in India - in particular the construction and building sites. Bandeau dresses came in a fresh pink check - Lele's nod to the sweat cloths used by Indian workers - and were either to the knee or mini. Slender polo necks, asymmetric shoulders and strapless necklines were alluring and will be appealing to the consumer. The stand-out looks were a hot pink dress with sari-like shape and the plastic covered pencil skirts with thigh-skimming split - sublime.
Asai too was looking to his heritage but rather than pulling from observation had re-appropriated traditional Chinese wares and stereotypes. Bags, sassily held at arms length, came with Jade bangle handles. Nunchuck strap, thigh-high boots in decorative dragon print with long adjustable leg warmers were festooned with ornamental crane and flower motif. Models had shirts tied around waist or across body, fraying knits hanging from limb, ribbon wrapped around leg and odd socks layered over odd boots - sounds clumsy but it was clever layering, a great asset for sales, and was masterfully cohesive.
Matty Bovan was dreaming of escape as he closed the show with his Mad Max utopian characters. Thick and loose knits, wild prints and logo tees are a staple of Bovan and were a welcome return. Translucent acrylic shin-pads-cum-arm-bands appeared as if protection from the elements and acrylic-coated braids, plastic-age folk art earrings and tribal make-up made Bovan's characters a force to be reckoned with. With casting that included top models Edie Campbell, Winnie Harlow and Georgia May Jagger, Bovan is quickly becoming one too.
This was energetic, witty and showed real dexterity in design. Keep these three Fashion East talents in your sights.