It was pretty hard to leave the Charles Jeffrey Loverboy show without a smile on one’s face. The London-based designer surely knows how to deliver a fashion extravaganza, but even more how to turn gloomy premises and observations on reality into a joyous, satirical moment.
In fact, since starting to research on the collection, a lot of events unfolded under Jeffrey’s eyes, including the death of Queen Elizabeth II.
“I was very interested in the fact that London was sort of brought back in time, it was all of this pomp and splendor, all of these marches and the uniforms. It was like we were going back in time,” said the designer, adding, “I wanted to design a collection and a counterculture that was sort of reclaiming our space.”
How to do that? With a fashion pie that requires a lot of ingredients: a look back at the 17th century and great reformation of the monarchy; a dash of Baroque art movement; a hint of New Romantics from the ‘80s and a generous amount of running gear (because at the time Jeffrey was actually training for a marathon too, so why not?)
Then put to good use AI as a Moulinex to blend them all together and generate images based on these different inputs.
“As a designer I think it’s really important to be aware of these technologies and to also participate and see how your creativity can translate through them so,” said Jeffrey, who found his hands full of unexpected images in neon colors that he pinned to his mood board. But he stressed AI shouldn’t generate the designs, just the mood.
In addition to the primary research, the tool served Jeffrey in creating the floral pattern printed on skin-tight T-shirts and puffy short shorts well as the satirical vignettes on theatrical headpieces that were centered on political conversations, such as free health care and open borders.
Elsewhere, the show paraded teal and tartan tailoring paired with shirts and skirts in fuzzy textures; sartorial vests styled with neon-hued cycling pants; denim jackets and minidresses covered in sequins for a shiny finish, and bold jacquard knits with flashy illustrations. A black jacket with asymmetric buttoning and puffed, sliced sleeves was styled with a hybrid between Bermuda shorts and a kilt in a look that demanded as much attention as the series of neon yellow pieces that one wouldn’t miss even on the rainiest of London days.
As the cherry on top, Jeffrey imbued some pagan spirit into the collection with accessories, which turned his models into mythical creatures via shoes with claws, hats with ears and sunglasses with eyes. The statement final looks came with decorative suits of armor made from pre-loved Wedgwood Jasperware, and teased a future capsule collection between the two brands.
The guests got to participate in the moment and be a king for a day, as paper crowns were placed on every seat. Perhaps that’s the whole point of the show: If everybody is a king, no one really is so; there’s no ruling others.