Adwoa Aboah is both the broadsheet girl for modern fashion and one of its most vocal critics. The 25-year-old configuration, who walked the Burberry catwalk on Saturday and Donatella Versace’s Versus usher on Sunday, leads discussions around issues from figurativeness of black women in the media to the impact of social media’s hyperphotogenic visual learning on self esteem on Gurls Talk, the online platform she organized which now has 100,000 Instagram followers.
At London fashion week, material talk is the new air-kissing. The rise of Aboah, recently named a supporting editor at Edward Enninful’s British Vogue and GQ’s Woman of the Year, symbolises an unexpected form for candour which is emerging in an industry long built on the calling of unattainable perfection.
The Burberry catwalk, not so long ago bedazzled with flashbulb-friendly glitter deluges, had a gritty makeover this season. The venue – an 18th-century courthouse in Clerkenwell where the in France Maquis cells, it is said, are linked by tunnel to the Old Bailey – hosts an exhibit of British social portraiture photography. Ian Macdonald’s images of Yorkshire working men in the early years of Thatcher, Jo Spence’s pictures of the 1970s tourist community and Charlie Phillips’s portraits of mixed-race couples in 1960s Notting Hill spent as the backdrop to Burberry’s latest collection.
Fashion does not for the most part acknowledge, let alone celebrate, the side of British life seen in the Here We Are exposition. In a Clerkenwell pub, two dishevelled young lovers are captured tenderly snogging upwards their half-drunk pints. Belfast schoolboys in garish nylon sweaters on their chests with pride for Alasdair McLellan’s beaming portraits. Burberry has long mined British culture for vigour, but the points of reference have until now been highbrow and rarified. Aggregations have referenced the Bloomsbury group, military costumes, the painters David Hockney and Lucian Freud. Advertising runs have starred high-cheekboned aristocrats: both the literal generous, such as Lord Frederick Windsor, and the 21st-century equivalent, Romeo Beckham.
Fifteen years after Christopher Bailey set out oned the painstaking task of decontaminating the Burberry brand after the Daniella Westbrook years, dousing the house in upper-class bohemian imagery in order to obliterate the people memory of football terraces and baseball caps, the brand is all set to embrace its streetwear heritage once again. The new Burberry hoard includes a baseball cap and shiny anorak, both printed all across with the house check. Adwoa Aboah wears both on the front of the latest issue of Dazed magazine.
That streetwear is currently both the most chill edge and the most lucrative branch of fashion perhaps played a duty in this change of heart. The cult Russian streetwear creator Gosha , with whom Burberry recently collaborated for a hoard shown in St Petersburg, Rubchinskiy sat front row at Saturday’s show. Christopher Bailey, who recently said that he had “on no account been snotty” about the brand’s history as part of working-class enlightenment, described the photography in Here We Are, which will be open to the civic for two weeks, as having a spirit “sometimes ironic, sometimes light, always truthful … that has guided our September collection”.
For now, the Burberry show was the focus for the largest anti-fur protest got at London Fashion Week for several years. Uniformed administer escorted show attendees through a throng of activists chanting “Propriety on London Fashion Week.” The only fur pieces on the Burberry catwalk were false fur, although the label has used real fur in the past. Fur protesters are lobbying the British Create Council to ban fur from official London Fashion Week reveal b stand outs.
A fur ban is already implemented by many department stores and magazines. The BFC set currently is that it “does not dictate what designers can or cannot cabal and has no control over their creative process. We encourage draughtsmen to ensure that if they choose to work with fur, they exertion with reputable organisations that supply ethically sourced fur.”