Friday night at London Fashion Week was Mowalola Ogunlesi’s night. Outside the official program and an hour out of town, the designer summoned us to The Beams for what looked on paper like a possible traffic accident. That’s what it was all about. David Cronenberg’s iconic film “Crash” led the designer last night to imagine a universe from a dangerous prism. In Mowalola’s universe, the fetishization of pain through shock is a necessary danger to stay alive.
The garments, treated with intentional impurity, conveyed an unconventional beauty; a beauty we could even say “dirty” but that somehow attracts us. The models, starting with Irina Shayk, who was in charge of opening the show, wore make-up that emulated extreme bruises and scars, infusing an immediate emotion to the artistic vision of the collection. Isamaya Ffrench was the mastermind behind these facial works of art.
The obscene graphics on the garments once again set the tone inherent to the designer: provocation. Like the hair and faces, the garments were also stained with tire tracks and blood. Most of the pieces revealed the belly in yet another opportunity for provocation. Because that’s what it was all about, turning as many necks as possible. Twin looks that included Umbro boots, and other extreme contrasts such as an EU skirt meeting the Union Jack cap also came into play. The flag of Japan, the flag of China, a sign that says “4 muslim people”. A whole amalgam of stimuli to invite us to reflect, even if only for a few seconds.
Last season’s skirts, which referenced the meme of blacks with pants at the knees, this time appear in new colors and materials, right in line with the collection’s artistry. The paired looks came in the form of twin tracksuit jackets and graphic tees joined at the sides, worn and strutted by two models at a time.
And another of the main pillars of the night was the mastery with the logos. Something that comes as no surprise if we know that we are facing a proposal from Mowalola. Having turned the M into a super heroine symbol and after a past season where he transformed some of America’s most iconic logos such as the NY Yankees or McDonalds in his own image and likeness, he now leaves his mark on the Umbro logo. Here, the “M” rests inside the recognizable diamond, as seen on the shorts or sweatshirts of the collection. She also does a new version of the Londsdale’s logo with her classic “Mowalola”. She can afford that license and one more season we have it in front of our eyes.
Seated in the front row were Ye and his wife Bianca Censori next to Mowalola herself. The couple are two big supporters for her work. Ogunlesi has had a long relationship with Kim’s ex-husband, since joining his ranks in 2017 during the incubation of Yeezy Gap. During that time, she also worked with Censori, who also belonged to the same team. In fact they both appear in the acknowledgements of the parade note. In Mowalola’s words, “this show was made possible thanks to Ye and B’s support”.
Mowalola’s combination of deliberate provocation and unconventional beauty culminated this season in an experience that celebrates the pleasure of, let’s be perfectly clear, giving each other a good hiding. Yet another proposal that leads Ogunlesi to establish himself as one of the leading figures in contemporary fashion. A nice accident I would call it. We have had it right in front of our eyes.
For more about London Fashion Week, click here.
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