Those lovely folk over at vitaminwater sorted me out with a front row seat and quick interview with Ashish this evening. It was a fabulous way to end Fashion Week, especially as the Ashish collection has always been a highlight for me. Colour, sparkle and a press release that reads like an entertaining short story - what's not to love!
The backstage area after a show is manic to say the least. There's a rabble of journalists waiting for interviews, celebrities and friends popping back to congratulate the designer or just say 'Hi' and, all the while, teams are desperately trying to clear up before security kick them out. How everything gets back to where it's meant to be I'll never know, it's a feat of organisational wizardry. As I wait for my slot, Paloma Faith (wearing Ashish) excitedly shows the designer a book she's currently reading on The Sex Pistols. With the London Punk scene an influence for this collection, it seems the pair are very much on the same wavelength. Amber Rose pops back to be introduced wearing a jaw-dropping, figure-hugging dress and super high wedges, and Marina Lambrini (and the Diamonds) pokes her head in too before rushing off.
I had a couple of minutes to chat to the designer before the lights went out and we were all escorted from the BFC tent...
The Style PA: Another great collection, does it take a big team to get everything ready for fashion week, do you find it stressful?
Ashish: No I have a really small little team. I just hole myself up in my little flat and work away.
You've said that this season London is a big influence for the collection. What is it about London that makes it a stylish and fashionable place?
I think it's the diversity, that people just do whatever they want. It's youth culture too; this is where youth culture comes from. I think the nice thing with London fashion is that it's very young, it's new and young all the time. I think that's really exciting. Young people in london are just fantastic, the way they dress, they're so brave.
I also have a men's blog so was interested to see men on the catwalk today. How would you convince a man who's never worn sequins to give it a go?
That's what's really interesting, it had a kind of glam-rock feeling to it. I originally didn't design the pieces for men, I designed them for girls who were wearing their boyfriend's clothes', that was the inspiration. Then when we were actually putting the show together I started thinking wouldn't it be cool to just mix it in, and I think it looked great. It all depends on the context you put it in but I really liked it.
There always seems to be an element of contrast to your collections for example teaming the knitwear with sequins...
When I started using sequins about 10 years ago most people were horrified because sequins equalled 'a slightly naff cocktail dress', now suddenly sequins are being done in daywear and have become quite mainstream. I think it's good to push those boundaries a little bit and it's just a wonderful medium to work with.
Sequins are definitely part of your signature style; we won't see you moving away from that in future? In 25 years time Ashish will be...
Oh my god, I'll probably be retired by then. You don't want me hanging around for 25 years, you'll all be so bored of it. I'll probably give up fashion when I give up sequins.
And growing up, did you always want to be in fashion?
Yeah, definitely. I used to rip out pages from my mum's Vogue magazines and stick them on my bedroom walls. Slightly disturbing as that may be.
Did you ever experiment with clothes yourself? Has it ever been about wearing the looks or more about dressing other people?
No, I don't wear it myself, I just love to dress the models.
So back to the collection... snippits from the press release refer to this season's muse as 'a punk with a lower case 'p', a 'layabout laird' and a 'poor little rich girl'. The plaid says Scotland, but the punky details are all about London and Ashish takes shabby chic to a new level with rips, safety pins, jumpers with holes in and frayed edges. If you ask me, the collection couldn't be further from that tacky cocktail dress he mentions above, it's well-themed, striking and definitely makes a statement. It's everything we love about Ashish, with a brand new story to get lost in, and this time it's British-inspired rather than American. Top marks for the best press release of the season too!
Watch the highlights from the show below...