Charles Jeffrey, London’s pioneering Pied Piper of the creative, queer club scene, has taken up running—no news to his 66,000 Instagram followers. The new sobriety (a Gen Z movement elders are astonished at) encourages transcendent thinking—all those endorphins—but how to channel it? “Running’s been my newfound meditation. It’s made me align with my younger self, watching sci-fi and playing video games,” he said.
As we walked in—well, herded in, because this is the most mobbed of the London men’s shows—we saw performers in gray-streaked bodysuits lying as if comatose, attached to tubes attached to silver-foil clouds. There was singing from a black-clad choir and a muffled artificial voice. The dancers gradually twitched to life. Awaking from long, dark days of hangovers into a new trans-human consciousness, maybe?
Jeffrey’s budget-theatrical depictions on the themes of LGBTQ+ realities entwine wild escapism and expressions of pain. This time, he said he’d “been a lot more sensitive to trans people, who are very much on my periphery. It was about pain and protest, really.” Fantasies about the creative and scientific possibilities of body modification are rife in fashion—it’s an obsession of Alessandro Michele’s at Gucci, after all. Some of Jeffrey’s models had facial prosthetics, and others had bulbous protrusions—one of a bundle of socks—bursting from under their coats.
But all of this explication about his references—there was a lot more going on here, besides—seems beside the point when you look at the runway pictures. Truth to tell, the clothes are now cleaving far more steadily to coherence, continuity, and brand identity. There’s the highly successful military frogging now transposed onto an athleisure jogging suit, as well as jackets and a pair of trousers. There are Loverboy-branded sweaters and rugby socks, easy buys for Jeffrey’s cult followers. There’s the house tartan patchwork tailoring and the kilts that are part of his Scottish-heritage narrative. A scribbled rose-print belted coat and matching trousers were a random delight. But best of all was a gray, collarless jacket, with decoration in the form of relief cut-outs. Well-designed, well-made, cool, and desirable, it deserves a designation as Charles Jeffrey’s Sober Suit.
Location 180 Strand
Words by Sarah Mower