On a pile of air beds, in the basement of the ME Hotel sit the elaborately dressed models at Edward Crutchley. I am instantly drawn to the rich imagery embroidered on jackets and trousers like tactile tattoos. An intriguing skeleton with a fish-scale shawl stares out at me, enticing me in.
Known for his innate knowledge in artisanal textiles, Crutchley's SS17 presentation boasts tapestry-like traditional embroidery and somehow manages to complement the contemporary latex fabric used for knee-high socks and sculpted tops. The glossy sheen of the latex and silk sits nicely against the matte jackets and trousers.
Seeing the clothing up close, I really get to appreciate the quality of the exquisite construction. This season marks the designer's first partnership with Clo Virtual Fashion - a cutting-edge 3D garment visualisation software. Digitally sewing and draping flat garment shapes allows Crutchley to freely experiment with form, encouraging a more experimental approach to design. There is a play with proportion throughout with garments taking either an exaggeratedly loose or very form-fitting approach.
A nod to his Yorkshire heritage is seen in the scaled-up plaid pattern and rural palette. The moody colour scheme of brown, navy, deep purple and royal blue is exaggerated by the dark atmosphere within the room. Injections of magenta in tie-dye latex mimics the large floral jacquards found on open silk satin shirts.
Inspiration for his embroidered motifs also comes from his heritage, taking elements from fables that pervade the Yorkshire moors: The Trow Ghyll skeleton that first drew me in and a cuckoo that acknowledges a spirit that roams through the mystical Oxenber woods.
Light and dark, loose and tight, old and new, matte and gloss... this rich mixture of elements all work together to create a collection celebrating the world's contradictions.