Taste The Rainbow With Fred Butler:
Tank Top Ranking Tongue-tied and Twisted
I arrived early at the portico rooms in Somerset House. I had received an invite, courtesy of Zippo, who have collaborated in making a very limited edition lighter for this exclusive event, but more about that later.
I always try to do a bit of research on a designer before attending a show as they have been gracious enough to invite me and I try to respond in kind by educating myself about who they are, what they do, what inspires them and then I try to get myself in the mind-set and mood to better absorb what they are not only showing me, but what they are trying to say to us through their art. More delightfully, to my surprise is that Fred Butler is in fact, a girl!
Going by previous work, I was anticipating that this show would be one of my fashion week highlights. The quirky, fresh and artesian feel that these pieces bring to us definitely had me smiling in amazement when I was quickly ushered to my seat. In the front corner, a microphone, speakers and Charli XCX was stood in a mix of Goth, hippy, street style- making my heart race a bit quicker.
I think music is intrinsically the ultimate companion to fashion, prior to the designs I see at a show. It is the music that uplifts the atmosphere of the room and gets you in a mood, setting an aura about the show. Being able to find the perfect combination is just as important as the models, lighting, and other preparations. If done correctly, it sets the scene and brings the viewers into the world of the designer; it gives you a feel of what they were thinking while brainstorming their collections, music is the audio to the visual of what they are telling us. It’s rare you get a live singer for a show at London Fashion Week, and to have an exclusive bespoke track AND the singer there, ready to pull you in to their world.
Charli XCX, diminutive and lovely, with a fabulous big voice, opened the show with the song “I’ll never know”, as part of the Red Bull Catwalk Studio project. We were certainly in for a treat! The music hits fast and intense, the beat thumping through the floor and you’re already tapping along to the tropical pop sound, and a smile is inevitable when she breaks into song. I could write just as much about Charli’s music as I could about fashion, it’s that intertwined. The fact that she wrote “I’ll never know” and sings it for us while we are viewing a collection that matches so perfectly, it’s one of the most inspiring moments of the week.
The collection…Happy, Happy, sigh. The psychedelic patterns, blended with origami folds, obijime ties, and plaits, all in pastels, not only worked, but excelled expectations! Lovely knitted jumpers and knickers, a collaboration with EDE who specialize in hand knitted garments in England, were the gorgeous supporting pieces to show off an accessories collection that is the closest thing to wearable art I have seen in a long time.
Lovely plaited headpieces, made with soft cording and pastel tubing along with geometric shapes of the bracelets, belts, and a vest piece are the kind of accessories that would have Lady Gaga frothing at the mouth. Then there are the origami and studded pieces. The origami belt is my favourite and would transform the simplest of little dresses out there. The studded headband and bracelets reminded me of the mosaic tile art class I took and the colours and style brought me straight back to the 70s. While nostalgia is always a good thing, seeing it return even fresher and more delightful is even better.
It takes a great designer to be able to pull that off, as not everything can make a comeback, and to be able to see things in a completely new way and yet have it somehow subliminally give some of us that warm feeling inside is a balm for the soul. The showstopper was a quilted ski vest. The shiny yet soft fabric, the high collar enveloping the neck, the sharp angles and geometric patterns stitched on creamy white and soft pastels had me feeling as if I were snuggled in my favourite quilt.[nggallery id=1]
The song is ending, the whole thing felt almost psychedelic dreamlike, and I am quickly packing up my handbag, coat and little goodie bag that had been shoved under my seat courtesy of the wonderful Zippo team. I was still rather floating in a delightful haze whilst leaving the show.
Twittering between my editor Hanna, and the Zippo team, trying to find each other and with 1% battery power and lack of reception, we finally met up at Tom’s Kitchen for a cup of coffee to share experiences of the show. They had also brought me a bespoke Zippo lighter, one of maybe only 100, with a special Fred Butler pattern on it, which was a fabulous end to a great day.
After a lovely chat about future projects (watch this space!), I am inspired by the creative projects Zippo has in store next, after all the future is bright….
Images by Lauren Michelle Pires