This season ART SCHOOL presented their collection through a runway film, set in Waterlow Park’s Kitchen Garden, Highgate. The largest show thus far, with 54 looks encapsulates a turning point in the brand’s evolution. The show focused on the cast of models as a reflection, extension and examination of their own history.
Divided into three parts, each offers a take on dark monochrome tones, such as green, grey and black. The sections reflect aspects of queerness and play on themes of community and kinship. ART SCHOOL is informed and inspired by each member of the cast and celebrates difference, the beauty of the body in the process.
With this show, ART SCHOOL staged the constant journey of becoming. These themes are implied in each look as a form of embodied practice. This in turn is reflected in the dismantling and questioning of the normative or physically able body. For ART SCHOOL crip identity is a unique source for creation and beauty.
Tailoring is purposely oversized or pulled tight around the waist. The silhouettes equally emphasise the importance and restriction of movement and physical space. Leather coats are made from reconstituted cowhide and vegetable dyed. The gender-neutral uniform is a continuous theme which offers protection. Silk dresses and suited jackets have been slashed and frayed to expose layers of fabric and skin.
This season builds further on the collaboration between ART SCHOOL and the artist Richard Porter. His jewellery and wearable sculptures are referencing themes of preservation and memory. Toys play an important role in the resolution of conflict and at times help us to unravel complex ideas and histories. As lifeless objects, toys exist through someone else’s imagination. For Richard Porter, this is only one part of the story. His objects unpick the frequently dismissed idea of art as therapy. Each is cast in clay and in this way turned into remnants of the past. They become artefacts held by robes and knots, they may be carried in one hand or tight around the waist or neck. Dinosaur toys or empty paint tubes have been fossilised as a way to preserve and protect the past. Each piece tells us about the desire to communicate something to a world that is yet unknown.
Therapy marks a turning point and a way to connect and grasp the past and future. Both in Richard Porter’s interpretation of toys or pagan symbols like the sun and stars or Art School’s slashed, ripped and torn jackets and dresses.
The collection tells a story that will continue to haunt us, or so it seems.
Words by Nathalie Khan
Designer & Creative Director: Eden Loweth
Production: Studio Boum
Make-up: Bea Sweet at JAQ Management using Monroe Skincare
Hair: Shon Hyungsun Ju at The Wall Group
Jewellery & Ceramics: Richard Porter x Art School
Footwear: Dr Martens
Eyewear: T.D.Kent x Art School
Film: Madd Creative
Studio Manager: Elly Beckford
Head of Atelier: Row Seward