The shows at London Fashion Week Men's are finally over, passing the baton to Florence for Pitti Uomo. Looking back over at the London collections, it's clear that fine art played a role in designers' thought processes. Fashion being a spectrum that draws inspiration from different creative fields and personalities, if there is a match made in heaven then it is definitely the one where fashion meets art.
Nicholas Daley's A/W 20 collection The Abstract Truth experiments with Afro Futurism, psychedelic rock and experimental jazz. The Guyanese painter Frank Bowling and his famed 'poured' paintings are the core of Daley's mood board for Autumn/Winter. This season for Daley sees the start of an exploration into Japanese textiles and techniques. The designer blended the mastery of craftsmanship with controlled chaos with the help of previous collaborator, visual artist Tilly Mint. Mint's ethereal reactive dye paintings are embedded throughout both textiles and visuals.
Wales Bonner, too, drew inspiration from Frank Bowling, reinterpreting his abstract artwork onto silk shirts. Known for her in-depth critical and cultural references, Bowling wasn't the only artist that Grace Wales Bonner name-checked. The reportage photography of John Goto also had an influence, specifically his project Lovers Rock, a series of portraits of young British Afro-Caribbean men at Lewisham Youth Centre, South London taken in 1977. The portraits tell the story of second-generation black and Asian youths finding love and belonging in the underground blues parties of seventies London, and Wales Bonner wanted to convey Goto's work's sense of community, homecoming and romance.
For Per Götesson's A/W 20 collection, the life and works of Joe Orton kindled the designer's imagination. Orton was a queer playwright active in the sixties who lived in Islington, the same borough where Götesson now lives with his partner. Before Orton’s success as a playwright, he defaced books from local libraries, ripping out pages from books and collaging the walls of his apartment using his stolen goods. The subversive nature of Orton's collages runs through Götesson's A/W 20 collection as a 'reminder to live and love with freedom.' The Swedish designer worked with artist Paul Waugh in order to respond to the starting point of Orton's collages. Images from old magazines, photos from nature books and old pictures from 70s recipe books were printed and patchworked onto a denim gilet lined with fleece.
Since her appearance on the menswear scene, Bethany Williams has made a name for herself in using fashion and art to express deeper concerns and sociopolitical issues. For Autumn/Winter 2020 she collaborated with illustrator and artist Melissa Kitty Jarram, to illustrate the charitable aims of the Magpie Project, Williams' charity partner. Jarram's drawings captured the bond between mother and child, as a way to shed light on the plight of children who are homeless or in temporary accommodation, who the Magpie Project aim to support. Williams incorporated Jarram's distinctive artistic signature and colour palette in the collection across separates and outerwear, for a bold visual and emotional impact.