‘It’s just an absolute joy’ – 10 years of Charles Jeffrey’s playful Loverboy

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At a turbulent clip successful nan UK manner industry, location comes immoderate bully news – 1 infectiously joyful marque is celebrating its 10th anniversary. Charles Jeffrey’s Loverboy, which started arsenic a queer nine nighttime successful eastbound London and has dressed Tilda Swinton and Harry Styles, is looking backmost connected a decade of tartan, trash, animalism, anarchy, paganism and punk.

In nan opening room of nan day exhibition, which opened astatine Somerset House connected Saturday, is simply a poster for nan nine nighttime from 2015, dressed up pinch doodled hearts; £3 earlier midnight, £5 after. It is simply a fitting memento for a retrospective of nan interdisciplinary brand, nan brainchild of nan Glaswegian designer, illustrator and all-round creative, calved retired of nan euphony and statement segment of 2010s London: Jeffrey moreover utilized nan costs from nan monthly nine nighttime to finance his label.

“It was astir London astatine a clip erstwhile euphony and manner was interlinked truthful massively,” Jeffrey told a crowd of assembled property astatine a preview connected Thursday morning, wearing his brand’s signature loafers pinch metallic claws bursting retired of nan toe.

The Lore of Loverboy accumulation astatine Somerset House.
The Lore of Loverboy accumulation astatine Somerset House. Photograph: David Parry/PA

From underground, outsider roots to nan reddish carpet, Jeffrey has designed ranges astatine nan invitation of legendary avant garde Comme des Garçons designer Rei Kawakubo and successful 2021 took connected nan financial backing of manner group Tomorrow (which besides useful pinch chap London manner talents Martine Rose and A Cold Wall), propelling nan marque connected to a much world stage.

While not a family sanction – yet – he has been described by Sarah Mower of US Vogue arsenic “the upholder of each that is human, imaginative and cheerful astir British fashion” and by Tim Blanks astatine nan Business of Fashion arsenic “speaking to young London nan measurement Alexander McQueen said to his generation”.

Talking to nan Guardian astatine nan preview, Jeffrey located his activity successful nan contented of Andy Warhol. “Primarily, we’re making clothing, but we besides make music, we make videos, we create artwork, we do creation direction, we constitute scripts.”

Loverboy connected nan catwalk for nan fall/winter show astatine 2018 London manner week.
Loverboy connected nan catwalk for nan fall/winter show astatine 2018 London manner week. Composite: Rex Features

The exhibition, titled The Lore of Loverboy, covers nan brand’s origins, imaginative process and much glitzy coming day. The genesis is etched retired via Polaroids of partygoers astatine nan nine night, outfits from Jeffrey’s student collections astatine Central Saint Martins and early Loverboy looks. An upcycled dress from 2019, shiny bluish pinch bacteria-like clusters of foil-covered balls nether its tutu-hem, perfectly encapsulates nan brand’s DIY aesthetic, pinch Jeffrey coining nan word “availabilism” to sum up nan thought of utilizing what he could, successful those early days, get his hands on. Other looks spot belts fashioned retired of bungee cords pinch hooks.

A sewing array strewn pinch portion measures, invoices of £150 for “the usage of Soho occurrence station” and takeaway java cups pinch lipstick marks, each to springiness a consciousness of what his workplace must look like, predominate nan room charting nan collaborative process astatine nan bosom of nan brand. Jeffrey is happy this has been translated into accumulation shape – nan beauty is, “it’s honouring everybody.”

The brand’s signature tartan is besides connected display. Inspired by nan red, bluish and achromatic constitution Jeffrey wore while clubbing and registered pinch nan Scottish Register of Tartans successful 2018, it speaks to nan brand’s toying pinch heritage. The last room is reserved for nan much starry broadside of nan brand, pinch nan Jeffrey-designed outfits worn by Styles and Swinton connected display.

The accumulation opened alongside a show successful nan courtyard of nan Thames-side venue connected Friday evening – portion of London men’s manner week, which has been taking spot successful nan superior this play – and a large day bash. At nan show, Beth Ditto sang Patti Smith’s Gloria, Erin O’Connor wore a dress successful nan style of a video crippled characteristic and Swinton watched connected arsenic models wore cartoonishly oversized bakerboy caps, surreally deconstructed suiting and idiosyncratic knitwear.

Erin O’Connor attends nan Loverboy Fashion Show astatine Somerset House.
Erin O’Connor attends nan Loverboy Fashion Show astatine Somerset House. Photograph: Dave Benett/Getty Images for Charles Jeffrey

In a caller question and reply pinch Business of Fashion, Jeffrey addressed nan comparisons to different British designers: “I’m Charles Jeffrey, I’m not Alexander McQueen. I’m Charles Jeffrey, I’m not Gareth Pugh. I’m Charles Jeffrey, I’m not John Galliano. I person a measurement of looking astatine manner and I want to nurture that and spot it to its end.” How would he sum up nan measurement he does spot fashion? “It’s sewage a consciousness of humour. It really doesn’t return itself excessively earnestly and it validates mistakes.”

“Charles’s ocular looks for nan clothing are wholly unique,” nan accumulation designer David Curtis-Ring said. “On nan 1 manus immoderate of them tin beryllium rather outlandish … But past others are wholly adorable.” He is referencing nan hats pinch bunny and feline ears that came about, Jeffrey said, arsenic a joke but are now a bestseller.

Tilda Swinton wears Loverboy to nan Fashion Awards successful 2022.
Tilda Swinton wears Loverboy to nan 2022 Fashion Awards. Photograph: Richard Young/REX/Shutterstock

The brand’s offbeat consciousness of humour does person a superior side. “Often it comes from a darker place,” said Jeffrey astatine nan preview. “It relates to this benignant of queer sensibility and a queer experience, nan emotion of being othered.”

Loverboy is now looking into further finance and towards a agleam early astatine a clip erstwhile different British brands are not faring truthful good – the caller closure of Vampire’s Wife illustrated nan challenges facing British brands. This 10-year milestone has, however, caused Jeffrey to reflect, looking to nan impacts of Brexit, gentrification and waning nightlife successful nan capital. “It conscionable felt for illustration London had a existent voice. And Brexit benignant of took it each away.”

But for Jeffrey location is still a batch to celebrate. “To beryllium capable to person it [the show] successful nan quadrate of Somerset House, this Grade I-listed building, and doing our ain weird awesome return connected manner successful it. It’s conscionable an absolute joy.”

The exhibition, which runs astatine Somerset House until 1 September is free, connected a salary what you tin basis

Source theguardian