Much like an invitation, a show’s location can be telling of the collection to come. A show at an aquarium might suggest something akin to McQueen’s 'Plato’s Atlantis', an old warehouse might hint to rave fluoros, a grand palace might propose a neo-classical print. So, when Edward Crutchley announced that his debut runway show would be located at the The Ironmonger’s Hall at the Barbican - a place with William Morris embroidered cushions, deep wood panelled walls and chests and portraits decking the halls - you could assume a traditional mid-eighteenth century aesthetic, a Victorian waistline, or perhaps an Elizabethan gent. Crutchley’s S/S 18 show was indeed all of these things, and much, much more.
Regally slow stepping down the runway to a music mix of progressive rock and medieval lute, models showcased Crutchley’s unequivocal nods to the eighteenth century; ribbed corseted bodices that exposed glitter covered nipples, padded wide dilated hips, full flowing crinoline skirts and a recurring Elizabethan-blackwork-style pattern of gourds and vines. This particular print appeared on oversized jackets, silken shorts and sharp collared shirt-dresses, worn by women and men alike, but was seen best in a glittering gold and navy.
Crutchley’s version of a puffer jacket came cropped, in satin and with a slight leg of mutton sleeve - a digestible version of Victorian style. Lamé-look jumpsuits, wide-leg trousers and long-length shirts were a reminder of the 21st century, while a luxurious quilted robe allowed Crutchley to flex his notable textile techniques.
There were a feast of cultural references within this collection. Crutchley had not only looked to British history but to the role of a Wakeshu (adolescent boy) from Edo-era Japan, Anna Maria Garthwaite (a textile designer from 1600s) and the raffia of the Dayak tribe (native people of Borneo). A beautifully exuberant declaration of print, texture and colour, this collection was Crutchley’s celebration of artisanal craft through the ages.