Patrick Michael Hughes Senior Fashion Editor
Photographs by Shaun James Cox
What Happens When a Designer Drops the 'Englishness of English Dress?
Matty Bovan looked toward exploring negative spaces around the body, allowing fabric to 'land' and react against the form. His London Fashion Week collection for Autumn/Winter 2020, was rooted in a 'warped friction between reality and fantasy.' Bovan tested the re-contextualizing clothing finding new diameters underpinned by craft an all important considerations in the design of wearable clothing.
The designer presented a twenty- four look collection with the agenda of propelling silhouettes to be representative of an out of body experience, linked to angular form and shape. 'Chance' and without conscious decision were used as creative tools to show new aspects happening to the silhouette such as the emergence of square 'fins' flapping against the body. These were seen within the more structured elements and items including upside down jackets fitted against the body they beg the question as to how they have been worn in the past.
Process, experimentation and consistent concept key for Matty Bovan in this collection, everything is out of proportion, even the styling such as the hair and head adornments by Stephen Jones. The design directive was for the head pieces to act as a floor length curtains allowing the wearer to perform or hide in their own sanctuary.
Scale was consistently played with in oversized Swaroski crystals applied to Fiorucci denim. Bovan's Americana thread seen in previous collections continued for A/W 2020 in a "manipulated amalgam of resewn pieces" having the effect of falling off the body while being firmly secure. This was also the portion of the collection where Bovan demonstrated his talent for up-cycling rejected garments generously donated by Fiorucci.
Distorted angular shapes fashioned from richly textural custom Italian fabrication were painstakingly developed, by Bovan with the goal of achieving balance of structure, drape and contrast, these are active forms engaged around the body. The designer describes this design element as a "Nonchalant" extremity. Contrast and distinction in texture were also seen in fluid silk velvet ripples against hard dead-stock London public transport moquette in mustard and orange wool pile. Bovan also showed looks with a soigné finish styled with opera gloves, hand- appliquéd with Swarovski crystal.
Lamé Jacquard was taken to the extreme in a coat-jacket hybrid with salvaged plastic fringing, features symbolic number personal to Bovan. Bright tulle forms highlight a floating silhouette with Liberty Fabric cushions sitting underneath at the hips were warped into a sort focus. Bovan created custom screens to enable a wider area of printing to showcase his floral plate , swan tableau graphics and an old man looking through a telescope. All of these motifs were excavated with Bovan's research in the British Library archive. Additionally noteworthy, for A/W 2020 is how Matty Bovan's thick textural hand-knit looks became spatial banners, forming angular shapes altering the form and adding the design elements of protrusion and irregularity to his silhouette.
Matty Bovan at it's foundation describes his brand as an "idiosyncratic, sartorial dystopia...playfulness and sincerity"
Matty Bovan is interested in craft a raft of pressing questions about why we make fashion in 2020?
fabrication details and designer's concept generously provided by Paul Flynn