A momentous close of the second day of London Fashion Week with Reuben Selby’s anticipated and unconventional runway presentation of his A/W22 collection titled
‘THE WILL TO FORM’. The British Designer ignited a spark within its audience, entirely immersing them within real-life artist studios, embracing the final form of the 8 hand-selected artists, an integral subject to the designer’s 5-day experiential artist showcase from The Copeland Gallery.
Surpassing the traditional norms of a fashion week presentation by sculpting an intensely collaborative, and creative space, the fresh smell of paint masked the sweet colognes of the audience immersed in four rooms divided by four different atmospheric realms, later mesmerised in a trance at the cue of a bespoke sound score to of the runway show. Reuben Selby draws inspiration both from the artworks which they created with their dynamic and textured themes, as well as from the essence of who these artists were – what they were living through, what they were trying to achieve, what expressionism meant to them and even what they were wearing. The runway gave host to a cleverly orchestrated cluster of characters, friends and artistic collaborators of the mind and soul. A culturally rich line-up of all-star talents including Rina Lipa, Sainté (Artist), Willow Kayne (Artist) Dubious Feux (Artist & Performer), Mudi Sama (Artist & Model) to name the majority.
Consisting of 17 looks of Men’s & Womenswear Reuben Selby had proven to have well utilised organic cottons and linens in ecru, beige and off-white have been used throughout the collection as a nod towards the types of materials that the original expressionist artists would have been wearing in their studios and additionally the canvases they were actually using to paint on. This is balanced with some darker, textured materials to represent the gritty, industrial environment which the artists worked in and many of which were creating art as a reaction against.
Over 30 hours of frayed edges, distressed seams and jagged contours give the collection an over-worn and utilitarian aesthetic, tying into their urban environment as well as linking to the important purpose that clothes had for each individual artist. The use of aprons and hanging pockets further this notion of practicality and utility. Sustainably recycling cutouts feature heavily throughout the garments and are a direct reference to the iconic “cut-out’ technique popularised by Matisse. Described as ‘drawing with scissors’, perhaps harmonious with how a designer, pattern cutter or seamstress would view their own art form.
Reuben Selby pays homage to the expressionist group Die Brücke, influencing his eye-to-eye vision in informing/influencing the graphic design/printed pieces seen in this collection. Die Brücke had a passion for printmaking, in particular woodcut design, therefore at Reuben Selby, we created our own expressionist woodcut print which you can see featured in the statement looks across the runway.
The multidisciplinary designer incorporates the idea that expressionism was a reaction against materialism and rapid mechanisation, and that it was a powerful mode of social criticism, relatable to each of the 8 Hand-selected artists from ‘THE WILL TO FORM’ concept, provoking them to express their anxieties to the modern world. As we’re living through a means of experiencing mass urbanisation and industrialisation, an aspect of which these artists felt so alienated within, the concept is to reflect this into the scenery in which you see the artists performing/creating.
Art is what unveils new forms of expressionism, and is what has driven the Reuben Selby brand into heightened success. The art bonds the brand DNA with the self-will to express, articulating ones’ mind of wondered desire through an artistic medium that is the purest, and only output championed by the Reuben Selby creative unit.
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