Here Are Our Highlights From the Frieze x London Fashion Week Mash-Up
Alexander McQueen, Raf Simons, and Roksanda looked to the art world for inspiration.
The Queen’s passing in September led a number of designers to postpone their spring-summer 2023 London Fashion Week shows, with many opting to reschedule them for last week—i.e., Frieze Week. Naturally, there was a lot of art on the runways. Here are our highlights.
This was McQueen’s second fall showing outside the fashion month circuit, and during Frieze Week, with its runway set within a transparent, inflatable dome designed by Chilean architect Smiljan Radic. The fashion house reinstalled it in the gardens of the Old Royal Naval College, overlooking the Thames. Creative director Sarah Burton drew inspiration from the work of the Flemish artist Hieronymus Bosch—“at once dark and beautiful,” as she described it in a statement. Garments, including a black wool bustier pencil dress and a white mesh bodysuit, were embroidered with motifs evoking The Garden of Earthly Delights (ca. 1490–1510). “This collection is about searching for humanity and human connection,” Burton said.
For his spring-summer 2023 presentation, the Belgian designer threw a rave at Printworks, a massive newspaper-printing warehouse turned nightclub in South London. There was techno music and strobe lights, a runway that doubled as a bar, and a collection largely focused on the human body (think fine-gauge knit tank tops, stocking-like leggings, tailored stretch skirts, and combination bodysuits). Certain pieces were created in collaboration with the estate of the Ghent-based artist Philippe Vandenberg, whose work grappled with the human struggle with a dark, yet colorful, sense of humor. Items co-labeled “Raf Simons / Philippe Vandenberg” were adorned with prints of the late artist’s paintings and text-based works, including dresses and tee-shirts with the hand-scrawled message: “Kill them all and dance.”
Designer Roksanda Ilinčić set her presentation at the Serpentine Pavilion for a fifth time. This year, Theaster Gates—the first non-architect tapped for the annual commission to design a temporary structure for the gallery’s grounds—created Black Chapel, a cylindrical site for community and contemplation, featuring the U.S. artist’s tar paintings and a central oculus as its sole source of light. Ilinčić’s collection reflected on the spirituality surrounding darkness and death, with the rose as a recurring motif. It manifested abstractly as voluminous dresses in upcycled fabrics, silk satins, and toiles, framed with falling black ribbons. Meanwhile, the Serbia-born, London-based designer sourced her color-rich prints from the surreal video and installation works of Swiss artist Pipilotti Rist.
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