On Saturday afternoon at the BFC showspace, crowds of the London fash pack were clamouring to get beyond that exclusive door for the Charles Jeffrey Loverboy show. Since his graduation from Central Saint Martins in 2015, Jeffrey has taken the fashion world by storm, immediately catching the eye of Fashion East's Lulu Kennedy, where he has shown for the past three seasons. Inspired by, informed by and synonymous with his club night of the same name, Jeffrey's Loverboy shows have swiftly become the must-see of fashion week. And now he's standing on his own to showcase his SS18 collection, everyone is even more desperate to be part of the fun.
The buzzing audience quietened as the lights dimmed. Dancers covered in swathes of pink fabric weaved down the catwalk, followed by a group of fluttering cardboard shapes, setting the scene for what we knew would be a weird and totally wonderful show. As the music reached crescendo, the group of cardboard shapes dispersed to frame the runway, revealing the first model to stomp around the room.
The phrase 'playing dress-up' would simply not do the collection justice – it was more along the lines of an Alice in Wonderland-esque trip through every kind of costume your inner child could ever have imagined, but with a more debauched undertone. Tartan-clad punks walked after regal duchesses, followed by space-age twins and the man on the moon. Gender was an illusion, trousers were optional and face-paint was a must, whether pale with colour shading or full-on glitter and sparkles.
As the cardboard shapes grooved on, the queen of the collection arrived – a tall figure dressed in a tailored white dress, covered in primary coloured drawings and stars that seemed to take up the whole room, staring us down with a playful smirk as she floated around the catwalk.
If seeing each look separately was fun and enjoyable, seeing the whole collection marching down the runway together was a hedonistic delight, especially as they were followed by the designer himself raving down the catwalk in shorts through glittering confetti. Jeffrey is often ascribed as creating clothes to help deal with the harshness of real life, and this collection felt like the perfect antidote to recent events with its almost defiant sense of fun and meshing of styles, concepts and historic references.
As Jeffrey excitedly dashed off-stage and the lights came up, it was hugely disappointing to realise that now we all had to go back to reality. In just a few short minutes, this talented designer had put on a veritable orgy of fashion, history and art, all combined into something that had an astounding euphoric effect on everyone in the room. Despite his relative newness on the scene, it seems certain that he is sure to go down in fashion history, emulating LFW's darling Pam Hogg's cult reputation as craziest and most outrageous show of the season. We can't wait to visit whatever world he dreams up next.