SS 23 "PHWOARRR"
Queerness is defiance, but it is also adaption.
It is a process of constant synthesis and hybridisation, constant flux.
It is always unapologetic, of course, but in the face of external hostility we find innovative ways to survive.
Embracing beauty in the lack of fixity, the lack of imposed linearity, is part of our shared queer experience. Like rare beasts, gifted with the power of metamorphosis, we subtly shift our shapes. An ability honed by our unique evolution – our eternal presence – always in slightly opposing cadence to that of our heteronormative counterparts.
Together we find corners of the devastated city, craft and adorn them into sources of light.
For SS23, LOVERBOY sews all of this multiplicity, all of this beautiful queer contradiction, into its seams. A short film exhibiting the collection, stars pop trailblazers and best friends, Nimmo, whose cathartic, synth heavy music reaches deep into the soul, setting dancefloors alight. We see the pair satirising fashion archetypes – and doing their best exaggerated Charles Jeffrey impressions – immersed in a bacchanalia of wellness, surrounded by LOVERBOY’s cast of beguiling characters.
Charles Jeffrey and his multi talented collaborators have communed with their alter egos. They have chosen to embrace a powerful duality and to explore alternatives to the externally organised, hyper-controlled body.
They have chosen to say: “I am this, but I can also be this.”
Primitive figures dance and run through this offering, representations of ancient hedonism and exercise. These mirror LOVERBOY’s new focus on redefining queer space and queer wellness, and the hope of creating safe spaces for queer people in sport. With this in mind, classic sportswear pieces are reimagined through new silhouettes and prints, providing activewear that doubles effortlessly as clubwear.
We are hedonistic, but we can also be healthy.
Tailoring, in wool and recycled polyester, is cut with sensuously undulating edges, and comes replete with gender-nonconforming pinstripes and chainmail lining, emboldening the wearer at every turn. Meanwhile, featherlight sheer dresses and ballooning seersucker blouses offer contrasting levity alongside Ancient Greek draping, whilst militaristic adornments are resignified and inverted in wood, providing a gentle critique of the traditionally organised body.
As pagan gods hover over an azure sea populated by queer sailors – lovers and comrades of Jean Genet’s Querelle – shapeshifting beings with golden fins, the rhythm in them, are rocking the boats to shore.
Location Somerset House
Words by Harald Smart