The models for Alex Mullins’ latest collection embodied classic art student nonchalance. With wet hair and moody expressions, they channelled the stereotypically rebellious, day-dreaming artist. Artists who are yet to scrub the pale, iridescent colours off their faces from last night’s hip, underground party. With this luminescent make-up, multi-neon printed fabric and indigo denim, the collection has a hint of David Bowie about it; it’s fearless and it’s magical. There’s a quintessentially British feeling singing from the designs and yet something electric sizzling from the seams.
The frayed denim and its ripped away sections say restless and young with a kick. They express Mullins’ concept for the collection – boredom. What could be a better protest to the dreaded, lethargic ennui than colours which bite, warped, printed faces and off-kilter silhouettes? The models are not apathetic or moody. Their distant gazes are a sign of slipping away into the glittering depths of the imagination. A place where they will never be bored.
It is in this way that Mullins introspectively studies the creative process. In this world of hyper-realism and meta awareness, we are unsettled by the designs and yet our eyes tingle with intrigue as each piece expresses the creative process a little differently. Hazel Gaskin’s photographs of last season’s collection are printed onto floor length tabards, fusing last year’s creativity with this one. What exactly is Mullins trying to say with this? There could be many answers. Mullins certainly paints creation as a cyclical process inspired by what has already bloomed in the artist’s mind.
The most jolting pieces of the collection are perhaps the fabrics slung over models’ faces with printed faces on, which twists ideas of identity. It is as if the models are anonymous through the veil of another identity. Alex Mullins’s designs feel as fresh as his brand, which he set up in Spring 2013 after working for designers such as Alexander McQueen and Jeremy Scott. He seems to have gleaned their fierce confidence and tenacious attitude when it comes to challenging conventional designs. His pieces look rough and raw, with inconspicuous buttons joining fabric, while other aspects, (like buckles at the collar or the blood-red boots) look sleek and refined. We’re intrigued to see how Mullins manifests his hyper-real, reflective approach next season.
Written by Daniella Golden. Video source British Fashion Council YouTube.