When we received the invitation for the Christopher Shannon show, adorned with a less-than-flattering image of a recycling bin surrounded by bin bags, our expectations were unsure as we queued for the show outside an old, disused car park near Bond Street. Indeed, we are presented with a relics of a forgotten wasteland, but is was a beautiful wasteland.
Following on from last season’s cheeky adaptation of the glamorous Sports Direct merchandise, the AW17 collection recycles familiar brands and well-known designs of the 1990s – but with a sinister twist. BOSS becomes LOSS, and all that remained of Timberland is Tumbleweed. Pieces such as the sports fleece and the classic coach jacket are reprocessed with bright colours and block panelling, providing moments of pristine vibrancy and putting a recognisably Shannon spin on the recent past. Like moments of memory, faded jeans and ripped double denim are woven into the collection as the models peek through flags shredded across their faces.
We remember smoke cities and class struggles as, through the bass reverberating around the concrete pillars, ominous spoken word lists 90s northern industry towns - Manchester, Sheffield, Hull. The final model walks away into the past and we leave the car park in remembrance to the late Liverpudlian sweetheart Cilla Black with the classic ballad ‘Anyone Who Had a Heart’ circling in our heads; round and round, again and again.
Words by Jonny Clowes.
Photography by Cleo Glover.