A wide spectrum of references and aesthetics came together on the Fashion East catwalk, from Robyn Lynch’s deconstructed sportswear, to Mowalola Ogunlesi’s overexposed Nineties ensembles and Stefan Cooke’s play with texture and digital printing.
Cooke, who showed his last collection with Fashion East and will be setting out on his own as of next season, was the standout of the emerging designer showcase.
He offered his own subverted take on tailoring, slashing structured check coats at the sleeves or on the sides and adding texture and movement on garments, with fringing, chainmail and cutout glossy leather pants.
Elsewhere he imitated the effect of textured embellishments with his signature “ghost printing” technique, creating two-dimensional prints featuring lace or fringe motifs on peacoats and trousers.
Irish-born Lynch took a more casual turn, looking to her father’s style and that of players’ at Ireland’s gaming festivals for inspiration. She reworked their retro, sporty looks into monochrome ensembles of matching nylon tracksuits or high-waisted jeans paired with roomy sweaters and knits.
The most interesting pieces included a range of sweaters that featured more formal knitted fabrics patched together with sporty fleece or nylon.
Ogunlesi’s range was far less parental approved. The Nigerian-born Central Saint Martins graduate was interested in bringing the spirit of Nineties club culture back and exploring topics such as overexposure, eroticism and “liberated self-expression” for her catwalk debut, which was filled with barely there leather skirts, pants so low-waisted they had models’ thongs in full exposure — and brought McQueen’s bumsters back to mind — and minidresses with large cutouts all over the front.
She took the same approach with the men’s offer which included skinny vinyl pants and body-hugging, cutout tops.
“I want people to enjoy themselves in these clothes, wherever they are, whoever they are with. I want to get lost in the pleasure of pleasure,” said the up-and-coming designer, adding that this hypersexualized spirit is “absolutely necessary” today. It’s hard to imagine many modern-day women or men who would want to go back to the discomfort of wearing skintight bumsters and would integrate these clothes into their lives.