First comes love, then comes marriage - then comes baby in a baby carriage. Old nursery school rhyme, or a foreshadowing of the natural progression of Ryan Lo’s most recent collections? As we return to London Fashion Week for another season, what better way to open proceedings than with this WJ London favourite and his fantastical interpretation of romance, tradition and the even the British monarchy - whether in a past century, or the next.
After delivering a memorable proposal for SS19 (whereby Lo invited us to observe a romantic tale that culminated in a princely “I do”), this season’s autumn/winter offering saw the story pick up at its next chapter: a right royal birth. There definitely felt like there was an element of cosmic timing at play, what with the media’s current thirst for information on the next addition to the British monarchy, but Ryan’s opening pram push was the stuff of a dystopian fairy tale. No blue for a boy, pink for a girl here: just lashings of mourning black, British pomp and traditional Victoriana details.
Across his catalogue of work, the explosive frenzy and candy pink colour of Kawaii culture often juxtaposes the dark and glamorous, whilst his fondness for childhood motifs jars with his creative vision for the future. That’s what’s so exciting about Lo: his duality. Hailing from Hong Kong but London-based by desire, Lo playfully dances between curious contrasts and opposites to create his own twisted fantasy world. It was a far cry from Lo’s usual hyper-feminine frills and frothiness, but this dichotomy was still at the epicentre of the entire collection, with these different locations playing a key part.
Despite a stiff-upper-lip entrance of the new royal parents and a more gothic tone to the collection, there was plenty of Lo’s cute and whimsy to satisfy his diehard fans. Pink tulle featured, accessorised with Royal Guard bearskin hats, reimagined in bubblegum pink, feathers and fluff by none other than Phillip Jones. Corset lace front dresses in virginal white were befitting of a princess, whilst quilted coat dresses, brocade coordinates and ruffled collars were undoubtedly Mother of Bride worthy in some alternative world.