Read all about it! Ashley Williams is back! The first look for S/S 19 showed a one-piece bathing suit with the slogan 'Retired and loving it'. Far from it - Williams is in her prime and fully aware of that fact.
It is a truth universally known in fashion that Williams and her pieces have a cult following. As Daisy Lowe, Joanna Kuchta and Pixie Geldof posed for the snapping photographers, last season's 'GIRLS' and 'BOYS' diamanté kirby grips glinted in the low light emitting before the start of the show.
This season, Alex Brownsell slicked up the models' hair in maniacal pineapple tufts, adorned with new styles and slogans. Like those great do-it-yourself fridge magnets, phrases including 'HAPPY METAL', 'SOCIAL COSMIC WOMAN' and 'RELAX PAGAN' were spelled out on hair clips, showing off both Williams' irreverent sense of humour, and the latest nouns and adjectives the Ashley Williams customer will identify with.
Williams often investigates the power of the word in her designs; it doesn't take deep analysis to see that she is pushing the movement to reconsider certain taboo vocabulary as her girls walk the catwalk with 'VIRGIN', 'WITCH' and 'MANIAC' written across their ponytails.
Further to this point, this season, Williams showed a newspaper print. Coming in a silk tulip dress, silver puffed silhouettes and black sheer gauze, the print was darker than one might expect. Think Galliano at Dior mixed with Fear No Evil. Looking past the prints, - others came in tiger, dolphin and the graphically printed 'Don't Know Don't Care' of seasons yore - shapes on this runway were easy to wear and cleverly commercial. Williams indicated her obvious consciousness of fourth-wave feminism in showing modest, pilgrim dresses and blouses alongside short shorts and sheer, nipple baring tops.
Contradiction looks good on a catwalk and this collection continued much of what Williams had started with her earlier work. One may have felt a lapse in the canniness we know Ashley Williams is capable of, but it came to a head tonight. Her subtle, yet interrogative questioning of cultural branding leads to finished products of clever, cool clothes.