Surveying the crowd tightly packed into the British Fashion Council’s brand new and improved all-white show space at Somerset House ahead of the Ashish show last Saturday, every so often you could spot the telltale glint of light reflected off a thousand iridescent discs. Clearly, fans of the brand in attendance were sporting their Ashish finest, which meant one thing: sequins.
Sounds like a recipe for Strictly Come Dancing-style excess right? Far from it. Ashish Gupta has a way of taking a theme and drenching it in sequins without ever verging into vulgarity, and this season was no exception. Russian peasant girls, school swots and lumberjacks are just some of folk Ashish has sequin-ified over the last few seasons. This time round the demographic wasn’t quite so clear cut.
There were elements of nineties Americana by way of the ripped ‘jeans’ (pale blue sequin-covered trousers) and playsuits; red white and blue striped horizontal striped dresses; baseball shirts and a liberal smattering of Coca-Cola logos. British corporations weren’t immune from the Ashish treatment either: a variety of supermarket-bating carrier bags with S&M and Disco logos (can you decipher their real life counterparts?) brought titters of appreciation from the audience.
An eastern influence was also evident, thanks to the appearance of Arabic text and hefty metal pedants, necklaces and even crowns that you could actually hear jangling whenever the music (a banging nineties night club soundtrack) faded. What was the connection between Coke and carrier bags? Why the humble British corner shop. Ashish said he imagined a hungover girl, still half dressed in her night-before clothes, heading to her local Pakistani or African-run convenience store for a soda pop fix.
As an idea, it was well-presented, but underneath the conceptual styling and gaudy accessories this collection featured some remarkably beautiful, flattering clothes. The dresses in particular: striped and short for cocktail parties, while a black trapeze-shaped floor-length gown with white chevron stripes and a silver and gold degrade bias cut number were more than red carpet ready.
Ashish SS14 at London Fashion Week image gallery: click on the images below to enlarge and scroll through.