Charles Jeffrey LOVERBOY SS21 Ready-To-Wear
Disorientated, Perplexed but deeply Memorable.
Disorientated, perplexed but deeply memorable. Charles Jeffery’s most recent LOVERBOY Spring-Summer 2021 Ready to Wear collection is one that I simply cannot knock from my mind. This may in part be due to my Instagram feed being littered by the collection’s highly heralded Tim Walker photography. I blame every fashion student ever for reposting such graphics onto their stories. Though truthfully … I’m not mad. The collection, entitled Healing, epitomizes the vehemence of a youthful response to many of the issues 2020 has brought forward, encased in this masterful RTW capsule.
The CSM Graduate first launched his label LOVERBOY in 2015 and is frequently compared to another shining Saint Martins star, the one, and only Alexander McQueen. Such comparison may be a result of both creatives being mentored by the same professor Louise Wilson. Both designers have a similar ability to mediate art and commerce, and relate also in their shared use of tartan, as this SS21 RTW highlights. Jeffery’s artistic prowess and creative expressionism are in no way compromised due to a fear of grossing capital. Rather, the clothing epitomises the notion of wearable art. These fineries are non-conformist and go against the traditional tropes of the fashion scene- a far cry away from the fast fashion retailers we all know and begrudgingly love. Check back in on Zara in a month or so, though I am not so sure one will be able to pick up a head-to-toe fishnet ensemble, I would happily place a bet on an appropriation of the striking face painted graphic tent-dress, and the prismatic patterned overcoats.
Jeffery states that ‘LOVERBOY was always a community that came together in a club, but also a digital community of friends who’ve gravitated towards us. There are a lot of really amazing people in here’. He continues that this collection is ‘[their] queer family captured in defiant joy’. In a time where clubs and bars remain closed, this collection manages, through its hypnotic shapes and kaleidoscopic prints, to create an illusionistic night out. One that we are all wishing we were cool enough to attend. This is what I imagine the inside of Burghain to look like. But who knows? NO PHOTOS!
Beyond the distant memories of a sweaty dance floor, and the overplayed yet highly loved songs of the early 2000s, or techno in the case of memorialized round-the-clock debauchery, this collection can be seen to reference a further dance link, one from an artistic great: Pablo Picasso in collaboration with the Ballet Russes, of course. I first was made aware of such a fact back in the pre-covid memories of 2020 at the RA’s Picasso and Papers exhibition- happier times. Picasso designed cubist sets and costumed used by Segeri Diaghilev for numerous performances Parade (1917), Le Tricorner (1919) Pulcanella (1920) all of which were choreographed by Leondie Massine. These works I Ioved for their experimental shapely structures, described by the 20th-century play critic Guillanne Apollinaire as having ‘a kind of surrealism’, three years prior to the movement’s development in Paris. This notion of surrealistic costumes can be similarly applied to the work in Healing; Jeffery’s quadrilateral-covered suits directly mirror that of Picasso. Alluding to a great through ready-to-wear textiles, simply splendid!
Though the clothing is greatly impressive, I think the artistic hand of Tim Walker truly solidifies this collection's notability. I can imagine every single one of these images isolated and adorned the walls of the stella Tim Walker: Wonder Things exhibition, previously exhibited at V&A.
In the future, I hope Jeffery and Walker continue to use their relationship in collaboration. If this is the initial outcome, who knows what years of a partnership would produce. I guess we will have to wait and see!