Mark Fast (above) is to show his first solo catwalk show at London Fashion Week this coming Monday. Previously he showed back-to-back with Mary Katrantzou. Fast, who specialises in highly worked, super-tight knitwear dresses became notorious a year ago at London Fashion Week when he poured "plus size" models (i.e size 12-14) into his dresses and had a disagreement with his stylist who felt the models he chose were not the gold standard in their category. The pair mutually decided to end their working arrangement, but that was not the end of it. The press got hold of the story and the outcome was a media furore which Fast milked for all it was worth, thus fast-tracking his brand name from zero recognition to sought-after in a matter of days. So here we are at his veeery east London studio, in an old Evangelist church hall, and he is prepping up to 35 looks.
MARK FAST SS11 INSPIRATION
"Its getting busy in here," says Mark gesturing to his three main assistants and five interns. "They've been in here everyday for a month working the machines," he says pointing at the ancient looking knitting machines that dot the studio, (they go for a fortune on eBay apparently) before leading us to the back wall and his mood board, above.
"I've been feeling a darkness in the air all summer, what with the oil slick and volcano.." he says and nods at the board. "Its a feeling of wetness and danger than I'm trying to translate into the clothes. But this collection is actually less dark than usual; it has injections of colour and then fades to white. The idea is to mix the danger of an alligator with the fragility of the butterfly. The Swarovski people even found me a stud crystal that has the look of reptilian scales when it is applied densely." To untutored ear, the previous quote may look like it belongs in Pseuds Corner (Private Eye) but when you see what he is doing with his collection of webby knits it makes a kind of sense. He shows me a go-go dress in Barbie pink hung with fringing and the arms heavy with Swarovskis densely positioned like scales. The workmanship and inspiration may be intense, but the the result, as always, is an amazing party dress.
The young design graduate above has been working on this fringed cape for days.
These Louboutin platforms are beyond fabulous. Bring on the 70s glamous trend!
A close up view of the reptilian Swarovski studs
Photos by Fashion Editor at Large
Assisted by Fashion Junior at Large