Let’s play a game.
We’ll start: if the end of the world was nigh, where would you be?
It’s likely you’ve already made this foray into the hypothetical by now. After all, who hasn’t discussed at length the best place to stow away - and how best to arm yourself - should the (almost) inevitable environmental/political/zombie apocalypse come a’knockin’.
Zombies aside, this is clearly a thought that has weighed on the ever-imaginative mind of Matty Bovan, British fashion’s bright young thing and solo runway debutante, with his first standalone show away from the nurturing bosom of Fashion East. Over the past two years his particular brand of dystopian folklore has captivated those seeking a welcome escape from their daily reality, and his AW18 collection continues to serve them with aplomb.
So where is Bovan seeking to establish his future world? North Yorkshire. Home not only to his garden studio out the back of his mother’s house, but to the wiley, windy moors where, for this latest work, Bovan’s mind has rolled and falled in green. For Bovan, the famous moors are the location for his survivalist settlement; an all-consuming abyss that combines romance and isolation in equal measure. But remember, as Nietzsche suggested, if thou gaze long into the abyss, the abyss will also gaze into thee.
And so the collection was rich in savage beauty, with heritage tweeds unravelling at the hem and outdoorsy knits (created in collaboration with Wool and the Gang) stretched and deconstructed to expose the skin underneath. Ravaged remains that only just survived the blast. Houndstooth, often the fabric of the countryside elite, is tattered and contorted; thrown haphazardly together with pastel tulle and textured terrycloth to create a post-apocalyptic uniform that’s tinged with glamour.
Ladylike separates, inspired by Bovan’s own grandmother, are literally torn apart and pieced back together, suggesting that the ruling class in this future universe is whoever has the gusto to survive.
To elevate the girls, quite literally, into this brave new world, Bovan enlisted the help of renowned conceptual milliner Stephen Jones to create headpieces formed of clustered balloons, not unlike the kind you used to lust after as a child. A striking symbol of weightlessness in a collection dominated by heavy fabrics and layers so loaded that they practically fall from the body, they almost whisked the models off their feet into the great unknown. Will we follow? Just try and stop us.