On Monday 24 April, Label presented its last fashion exhibition, concluding not only their series of events inspired by the four elements – fire, water, air and earth – but also St Andrews’ own fashion season. It was an interesting year for fashion shows in the Bubble, and between the well-established FS and DONT WALK and the ever-growing Sitara* and Catwalk, Label was able to create its own niche, by always providing the audience with strong and relevant messages, spanning from body-positive and gender fluid to environmental fashion, as in the case of “Grounded.”
18 designers were showcased in the beautiful location of the Old Course Conservatory, where guests were invited to enjoy the famous Old Course afternoon tea while looking at the eco-friendly designs rocked by the models. The theme of earth, in fact, was reflected by the ethics of the brands displayed, but also by the location itself, immersed in the green of St Andrews’ golf courses. The great effort to respect the environment put in the creation of the pieces was the fil rouge giving cohesion to the much-varied collections, often contrasting in shapes and graphics.
Two brands, GUINEVERE LAUNCELOT and FADE OUT LABEL, had already been presented in “Ebb & Flow,” the second exhibition of the series, inspired by water and exploring gender fluidity in fashion, but this time with new designs. Reminding of the GL hand-designed digital prints and main employment of silk, “Textiles by April” opened the show with its fluid maxi dresses, blouses and trousers, whose graphics were inspired by crystals and minerals. Morbid lines, pastel colors and delicate patterns dominated BIBICO’s collection, a brand that, since 2008, works with natural, fair trade materials, offering “easy to wear, fuss free and well-made clothing,” fully in line with their “back to basics” philosophy. A similar approach was the one presented by Lemuel MC – London, founded by Marta Cernovskaja, whose handmade clothes are crafted from 100% linen, explicitly providing classical, elegant and “splendidly simple” sustainable fashion. The highlights of the first half of the show were, in my opinion, the amazing designs inspired by the Amazon forest of CASA LEFAY, a series of summer dresses enhancing the feminine curves, whose prints representing natural subjects such as flowers, leaves, butterflies and even Earth itself, were beautifully incorporated into soft, earthy shades of green, yellow and brown. An interesting aspect of the brand is that the prints used for each piece are reproductions of original watercolors made with traditional techniques on paper.
The second half of the show had a completely different vibe from the very start, which saw the spectacular performance of the Glasgow-based drag queen Bearberry McQueen. “Mother Monster,” as Francesca Kelsey, designer of THRIFTY LITTLE, described Bearberry, is the inspiration and “godmother” of her new collection and opened the second half of “Grounded,” as the nifty designs were presented on the runway by the visibly amused models. Francesca is a pioneer of the “upcycling,” also known as creative reuse, turning basically everything “unwanted” into outstanding pieces of eco-chic fashion. Two of my favorite designs were certainly a very “80s” purple velvet dress with puffed sleeves and incorporated necklace, and a black long one embellished white capital letters spelling “you woke the monster.” Shout-out also to the superb creations of STUDIO FIVE and FEMINIST APPAREL, that reinvented the basic white t-shirt with the use of smart, sarcastic and visually-appealing prints.
Overall, “Grounded” provided a great ending for both Label and St Andrew’s fashion season, stating once again the power of fashion to convey socially-relevant messages, and revealing the huge potential of the show. Label is a unique reality in St Andrews and it certainly has what it takes to become one of the most significant in town. With the new creative team to be announced shortly, there is great excitement for what is coming next, and not without reason.