[W]e didn’t know it yet, but Charles Jeffery’s crumpled show invite provided a clue to his AW18 collection. London’s brightest young thing is known for bringing the theatrics, but even by Mr Jeffery’s standards his second solo fashion-come-art show was next-level spectacle. An explosion of raging energy.
Wounded performers in peeling Rocky Horror makeup howled into the thunderous night, stomping the grounds of an underground nightclub, drinking the last dregs of red wine from the bottle. You didn’t know whether to laugh or cry – which was the whole point really. The resulting performance, imbued with both anger and beauty, was based on his own tough upbringing in Scotland and growing up gay. The runway was the ultimate Fuck You to his bullies back then.
“Anger is an energy,” he says. “And when I get angry I get Scottish.” A live neo-punk drummer provided the music – aptly The Prodigy’s Firestarter. The lights turned on and the show was to begin.
Clinical psychologist Alan Downs’ book The Velvet Rage: Overcoming the Pain of Growing Up Gay in a Straight Man’s World was essential reading. “The louche exterior becomes a shield to stand behind,” according to the show notes. “Menacing silhouettes, loud and large, are akin to animalistic gestures to protect oneself from predators.”
The first look was a perfectly cut suit of armour, paint splattered prints fresh and romantic and Macbethian witches were shrouded in mists of intense colour. Scottish kilts were reimagined in radical ways – even introducing his own LOVERBOY tartan on a suit worn by a model with red warpaint. Reclaiming his heritage in spectacular fashion.