After a turbulent year for gender and social equality we were apprehensive about the tone for this London Fashion Week Mens, taking place just a week into 2018 and a few short months after the scale of discrimination in entertainment and the media first came to light. Whilst some might expect pared-down wares to reflect the subdued mood, Bobby Abley’s case is all for escapism and fun. As guests gather, the show notes declare that they’re invited to join in Bobbyland – a vibrant place where everyone is welcome.
To the booming beat of KillASon’s “Hoddest in My Town” comes the French rapper himself with a cocky head wiggle. He’s clothed in an opulent deep blue wool coat with jewel-trimmed fur cuffs, low slung checked royal-blue trousers and chunky Timberlands – perfectly setting the sentiment for what’s to come.
Having launched his eponymous label just six years ago, the designer has swiftly established hallmarks we look forward to seeing each season, and this evening’s show is no exception. The signatures of Abley’s work are all still here and still as relishable – the collection is packed full of heavy furs, teddy bear emblems and playful cartoon references. Appearances are made by the cast of Loony Tunes this time, with a witty salute to Bugs Bunny in the form of slouchy dungarees, a gold grill and rabbit-eared bandana.
“Bobbyland welcomes everyone both international and interplanetary” we’re told, as the stream of models continues, decked out in oversized jewel-toned checks, boxy outerwear and slouchy intarsia knits. This message of inclusion is accentuated by a sweatshirt decorated with the recognisable passport motif and motto “Legal Alien”.
If that isn’t enough to ignite a nostalgic feeling in you, perhaps Abley’s seasonal homage to the one and only Christina Aguilera will – the pair recently declared their mutual adoration for each other on the designer’s Instagram. This season’s tribute comes in the form of an oversized sweatshirt emblazoned with the title of the pop star’s 2002 hit ‘Can’t Hold Us Down’. The look is head-to-toe in the bubblegum pink, lilac and baby blue tones that all featured in the song’s accompanying music video.
Closing the show – and the season – Tweety Pie graces the front of a hand applied-maribou sweater in an all-yellow and plaid look that prompts every attendee to raise their devices for a snap of what might be the most Instagrammable outfit of AW18. As the final show of the weekend at the British Fashion Council’s space, we were hoping the Yorkshire-born designer had saved the best until last, and he certainly didn’t disappoint.
Words: AMY MILES | WRITER | @amymiles_
Images: JUSTYNA RADON | PHOTOGRAPHER | @justyna_radon