AW19 "DARLING LITTLE SILLIES"
The fragile romance behind this show began for Charles with a first-edition copy of The Story of Peter Pan. Within the delicate pages lay the first spark of ideas which, beginning in storybooks, travel by way of twenties ballrooms and The Libertines’ tales of a decadent and dilapidated Arcadia - to arrive somewhere that has no real sense of time. An excerpt from the book introduces the ideas of friendship, and otherworldly creatures which anchor our story: “The tree-tops are soft as velvet, and in the evening, at Twilight, are all bejewelled with tiny mauve, and blue, and white lights. The mauve ones are boy fairies, the white, girl fairies, and the blue lights are darling little sillies who are not quite sure what they are.” In celebration of magnificent creatures - not only imagined but to Charles, very real - he began devising a collection for those he loves... surrounded by references to Lost Boys, Warhols’ Factory stars, and the frenzied ruffians of Lord of the Flies.
And so, to the creation of a Utopia where love, and pleasure, and kindness, are the only laws. Our abandoned show venue becomes a broken Neverland. A demolished ballroom, a treehouse built for Wendy, a weird, working studio of a LOVERBOY collaborator. As the collection populates the runway, the surrounding performance is an ode to community. To the almost-sacred beauty in shared ideas and collaboration.
The ideas being proposed here shouldn’t be seen only as flights of fancy; stitched together they might just as easily and meaningfully read as an insight into political belief. The idea that kindness, and benevolence, and goodness, should live within government might not be a reality which many LOVERBOYs around the world are currently able to see. One thinks of policies being proposed in America against the trans community, or Tory legislation at home against the disabled. An awareness and opposition to a rumbling sense of global unfairness lies underneath this show. There is something of a ballad to the idea of the Welfare State. At a painfully romantic moment in the film Hook, Peter instructs his Lost Boys to ‘take care of everything that’s smaller than you.’ There is much to love here.
Speaking of love: in the midst of the show, space is created for a new mood to be introduced the world of LOVERBOY. Something seductive, a rumbling mating dance that could denote lovers, friends or anything in between. The sublime spell that is cast between people on dance floors, or across kitchen tables at house parties, is rendered exquisite.
This show isn’t entirely fantasy, or fairytale - as with all Charles’ shows, the story acts as a kind of mirror to a personal reality. As the LOVERBOY label shows the early, tentative but purposeful signs of growing up, this season is intended to affectionately draw a full stop at the end of a chapter; to almost bottle what it is that makes this world so compelling. This is LOVERBOY exactly as Charles sees it - rendered as lovingly and tenderly as it deserves to be. A kind of painting of what is most precious to him. It’s a personal Utopia, as with all Utopias entrenched in Truth & Beauty and the idea that paradise begins at home. And so, the show sees us pay homage to the safe space created for so many Darling Little Sillies; to take a snapshot of a movement that has touched many.
This is the magic and salvation that comes with helping other people.
These are our Happy Thoughts.
Location Wapping Hydraulic Power Station
Words By Osman Ahmed