There is a dark feeling at London Fashion Week this season, which coincides with a period of national mourning for Queen Elizabeth II. Most designers have scaled back their shows or, like Burberry, canceled them altogether. For those moving forward – many young, up-and-coming designers who have invested huge sums to present their designs to an international fashion audience – a quiet, contemplative vibe has replaced the usual frothy jubilation of the show.
Edward Crutchley, who presented his Spring/Summer 23 offering on the first morning of LFW, foresightedly named his collection “The only constant in life is change.” Having been trained by Kim Jones, Crutchley has a meticulous eye for tailoring, and Spring ’23 married that precision with more glamorous and opulent elements than we’ve seen the young designer show off preciously. Crutchley was inspired by the Greek sea god Proteus, working with writer Aron Alexandros De Vallier Petridis, who studied ancient Greek and archeology, on the details of the collection.
“The ancient Greeks had a complex relationship with the ever-changing sea. While one feared a resource, a source of power, the otherness of the sea, its changing unpredictability, its brute force and its indomitable will,” writes De Vallier Petridis in the show notes “Perhaps the only way to peacefully coexist with change is to be protean ourselves.” We can all understand the feeling of having to surrender to life’s seemingly endless chaos over the past couple of years, but that feeling is especially acute for young fashion designers, whose success tends to fluctuate as they go. and as trends come and go.
Crutchley, however, has long been flowing in the right direction. Following his stints with Kim Jones at Dior and Louis Vuitton, Crutchley launched his eponymous menswear brand in 2015 to immediate success, winning the prestigious Woolmark International Prize for Men’s Fashion in 2019. Crutchley has since expanded his offering to include womenswear, and counts Kanye West, Supreme and Richard Nicoll among the clients he has worked with and consulted for. Spring-Summer 2023, with its puffy jacquard cloqué dresses, light-reflecting outerwear and fabulous ruffle-sleeve mini dresses, proved to be one of its most confident outings yet. Proteanism suits him very well.