Counter culture! Anya Hindmarch’s deliciously literal take on everyday supermarket products will never let you look at Kellogg’s Corn Flakes or Daz laundry detergent the same way again. Only she can take a handful of fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) and whip them up into the precious leather objects of her fall runway show; think a python skin Frosties clutch or a bronzed Bourbon sandwich cookie minaudiere.
Yes, for the uninitiated in Hindmarch theatrics, it was quite the surprise to find the show was taking place on a classic runway with models rather than another large-scale, animatronic set with rotating and moving parts showing off the designer’s latest accessories. Opening with a model in a plain white dress carrying a sleek tote, the show appeared to have all the makings of a regular, more sober fashion week event. That is, until one noticed Tony the Tiger inlaid with sumptuous intarsia leatherwork or the moving ‘conveyor belt’ runway, which soon rolled out more models in Busby Berkeley-style routines. The retro MGM touch was enhanced by the sound of Judy Garland’s 1950 song “Get Happy” and the whimsical shopping cart dance number by male models, while at the back of the show set, a giant bar code pinged with each ‘swiped purchase’.
The sparkling wit and charm of the show was marched by the fantastically crafted tongue-in-cheek bags, whether it was a Kelloggs’ cockerel sewn on a polished roomy tote, precious leather Rich Tea packets or a metallic crinkled crisp clutch worn across the body. The collection also marked Hindmarch’s first scarf collection of smiley-face-printed silks but they felt slightly trite in comparison to the daring singularity of the handbags. Daring especially as their retail success is uncertain; while they would certainly make major street style bait, their eye-catching novelty could wear off quickly. Of course, being the sharp-minded Thatcherite entrepreneur, Hindmarch had left little to chance with the inclusion of a few plainer clutches and totes in graphic stripes for the less adventurous at heart. It was her beautifully accomplished synthesis of gags and glamour, however, that got the pulse racing.
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