The theme to Jurassic park welcomed us into the BFC showspace on the first day of LFW SS17 for Ashley Williams’ catwalk show. The darling of athletic chic, Williams is loved by the likes of Alexa Chung, Pixie Geldof and Clara Paget – they were of course sat front row, wearing the current season’s collection like a cool girl uniform. Bright balloons, bookcases and mirrors were scattered across the catwalk, and as the lights went down, models entered the scene and busied themselves with reading books, recording with retro camcorders and fiddling with trinkets.
Coupled with a slouchy strut and a whole lot of attitude, the clothes started coming down the catwalk. The designs combined loud and proud eighties influences with girlish glitz and and undertone of dark romanticism, evoking that not a girl, not yet a woman teenage headiness – Williams’ inspiration for this collection was her adolescent obsession with River Phoenix.
The range spanned everything from casual to formal, with some crossovers in-between. Loose dungarees, chunky jumpers and long sweatshirt dresses emblazoned with slogans offered fully functional weekend wear, while huge gigot sleeves and swaying tassels gave a more sophisticated, evening feel.
Each model had their own identity, showing it off one by one through bubblegum pink hair, dip-dyed mullets and sparkly ‘GIRLS’ and ‘BOYS’ hairclips that indulged our inner teenager. Each outfit was finished with pointed, buckled creepers, treading that fine line between delicate and stompy. Accessories were a themselves a statement; some models sported sunglasses – sleek wraps that made them seem almost robotic or pretty cats-eyes style frames – and large, dangly earrings, while some carried large animal bags with beaded handles.
Ashley Williams’ teenage bedroom was a wondrous place to start fashion week. Full of fun, colour and a healthy dose of adolescent angst, the show reflected a different image of fashion to the one we’ve come to expect on the catwalk, which is perhaps why this relatively new designer has such an impressive reputation and a fanbase of some of our favourite names. As the pink-sweatshirt clad frow headed backstage to congratulate the designer, it was clear that Williams is only at the beginning of her trajectory into a household name.
Images: Ellen Offredy | Fashion Week Photographer | @ellenoffredy