Ashish is a brand that holds endless fascination for me because it so artfully balances two different identities of the London fashion industry. The first is functional. Built for ~comfort~ and not for speed which includes things like sweatshirts, sneakers and matching tracksuits. Those tacky things I've come to associate with a stereotypical view of western lifestyle and sweaty old guys who never exercise in their sportswear. The second identity is the antithesis of comfort clothing, in the form of pretty pink, sparkly tulle dresses. This is related to that stereotypical idea that little girls intrinsically like to look like Disney princesses in tiaras and magical mermaid hair. I'd like to make the distinction that I don't necessarily equate this aesthetic with girls or women, buy enjoy it ironically or to satisfy some trash culture urge. But anyway, lots of sparkly pink tulle dresses and sequins.
Their Fall collection of 2014 has the fashion world abuzz bringing a bounty rich in next season's hottest trends including Buffalo sneakers with fairy light platforms, princessy tulle dresses and surprisingly, sequined sweatpants. While that might sound nauseating on paper, I was personally delighted it worked harmoniously to create an aesthetic identifiable with London Fashion Week and really representing the best Britain has to offer. I am probably going through a 'grass is greener on the other side' phase where I am completely disillusioned with Melbourne Fashion Week and want to reach the other side of the world and relive the best of international fashion. This probably also has to do with not attending Melbourne Fashion Week because I had too much homework. Yup, I'm officially the most boring person on the planet.
Statement jeans are slowly becoming a trend to be reckoned with- by which I mean they're finally mingling with the fashion elite. Of course we'll never see the likes of Anna Wintour in anything other than neutral shades and Chanel sunglasses but I would like to think that the imaginary rules and barriers within fashion are being redefined everyday in what can only be described as a shifting paradigm within fashion. Maybe I want to dress up like a Greaser today, or I just feel lazy but want to feel crazy good in a minimalist way- all of these are achievable because there is a certain level of potential. Denim favored by new graduate designers and fashion bloggers alike (Susie Bubble is my favourite for this) they are able to breathe new life into what was a tired, wardrobe staple. That seems to me the highest form of creativity, to reinvent and change the interaction of an audience with a product practically everyone uses.
The idea of adding glitter, sequins or statement patches to jeans seemed rather juvenile to me at first but that collective body of work shared by independent designers and fashion bloggers is opening my eyes to a world that is fashionable but playful. It's a little confusing because it presents a challenge to create an outfit that is able to match the practical nature of denim with all the glamor of imagination but I'm warming up to the idea. This has lately been inspired by a John Waters-mentality and secret wish to indulge in things tacky and unsophisticated. Ashish presented a number of pieces fitting into this category including embellished varsity jeans, sequins and torn edges coexisting together in harmony and those eye-popping ruffles. I can only hope that many of these wonderful pieces are styled and brought to the street in new incarnations.
The hair was big and the eyeshadow extended all the way to the cheek bones to create a glowing effect evoking romantic notions about fairies, which was only reinforced by the models wearing the most adorable miniature tiaras. It was all very precious, and although I oppose the gender identity and misconception that girls are inherently attracted to all things pink, we're obsessed with horses and write in our diaries I DID appreciate it on an aesthetic level. But this is also open to deconstruction and rapid subversion as shown by the Riot Girl movement and women punk rockers such as Courtney Love. It's not so much about the clothes as it is about the attitude. If I got my hands on fabulous tulle dresses I would probably try to preserve them as best I could, but there would be the desire to hire out limos and recreate prom and stage an elaborate photo shoot. But that's just me.
Sequins are one of those big reoccurring themes Ashish have revisited each and every season and who can blame them when they make everything look amazing? Whenever I feel a journal page has not gone exactly to plan I either add stickers, use glitter glue or sequins in order to smother the page. A lot of the time I still feel a weird sickness in my stomach that I didn't make something I was proud of, but I do feel better than before. That's not to say this is the intention at Ashish because sequins are so clearly the main feature of this collection and have been brought to the full attention of their audience. Looking back on some of their earlier work I have to admit I wasn't totally convinced about the use of sparkles but their Fall presentation has been executed and articulates an aesthetic aimed at teenage girls. I'm all about teenage girl aimed content and yet what they have created remains totally unique to the brand's style.