Textile customiser extraordinaire Louise Gray decided to call her show Get Some Stuff – and so she had. Among the materials used to embellish the faded tribal-print sundresses, trousers and rib-length cropped tops were bottle tops, colourful tagger tails with sequins, polystyrene balls and party streamers inside clear PVC bubble-hemmed skirts.
Yikes! More conventional decorations included Indian mirror tiles, embroidery and lots of knotting – on jumpsuits, blouses and the cute sundresses. If there was a kind of gap-year, eco-tourist feel to the colours and embellishments, the actual cut of the clothes was smart modern womenswear. High-waisted tie-fastened pants, knee-length dresses, skirts, bloomers and tops layered one on top of the other created a bonkers "explosion in a charity shop" look from a distance, but up close the details were lovely – like the multi-coloured print made up from a graphic of the word ‘FUN’.
Louise’s clothes may look extreme on the catwalk but unpick the show’s styling, take off the Bow Wow Wow headdresses (this season, lilac raffia Mohicans were supplied by Nasir Mazhar) and there are beautiful, brilliant silky printed separates that cool girls really want to wear – with their jeans, or black opaque tights; everything. We fell in love with the silk patchwork dresses, made up of black and white graphic stripes and glittery sections, and especially the Nicholas Kirkwood-designed Pollini shoes – brightly-coloured rubber stilettos, made specially for Louise as part of the brand’s support of the Scottish designer. (We noticed the model’s ankles were painted in white bodypaint to look like ankle socks, and avoid any slippage in the precariously high shoes – CUNNING!)
After the show we caught up with Louise, who is sponsored by COTTON USA, looking lovely in a red sari-dungaree combo. Appearing both tired and euphoric at the same time, she admitted that she’d not been to bed, and that she’d been surprised at how nervous she'd felt, but that nothing had gone awry before the show ‘because I’m so pedantic and obsessive with everything’. She ran through some of her inspiration for the show – Trinidad and Tobago tribes like the Makako, and photographers Albert Khan and Andrew Moore, plus artist Jenny Holzer and the late Dash Snow. It’s only 10.30 in the morning and the show is over. Louise says she’ll be spending the day with ‘my parents, who are coming to see me.’ I leave her air-kissing the DJ, Princess Julia, who did the music for the show, and with a line of well-wishers waiting to congratulate her. Well done, Louise!
- Naomi Attwood