Thursday 4th April

| BY Paul Toner

Glow Baby Glow: The Latest Fashions Beam in the Dark

Picture this. It’s your first school disco, the Capri-Suns are flowing. One hand grips a half-eaten Swizzels Refresher, the other is a tad sticky from a sherbet binge. The air is punctured with the stench of Lynx Africa and David Beckham’s Instinct. Although your head is starting to itch from the clunks of VO5 that are stuck to your scalp, you don’t really care – you’ve got your light up trainers on. They flash in time to the heavy bass lines of an eclectic mix of Example and The Black Eyed Peas. Your mum had planned to give you them as a Christmas present but couldn’t resist letting you stunt them early – she knew they’d go well with your glow-stick bangles, the perfect accessory for cutting some serious shapes.

Once a staple on the dance floors of your younger years, glow in the dark fashion is having quite the moment. Normcore is slowly disintegrating; minimalists cowers in the shadows of the maximalist’s over the top design offerings. You don’t have to look much further than Givenchy’s new Pre-Fall capsule collection to see how a much brighter design vision is sweeping even the juggernaut houses. A new take on designer Clare Waight Keller’s pre-existing menswear signatures for the house: trainers, jumpers and wallets glow a monster green that will take you from day to night and back into the light. Looking at the last women’s fashion month, we can’t forget the Saint Laurent co-ed show, where a cluster of party dresses, both puffing in feathers and exaggerated to 1980s volumes at the shoulder all dossed in acidic UV shades.

Unsurprisingly, Iris van Herpen plays a key role in brightening the grey area. Sophisticated yet disruptive, Herpen complimented her 3D printed concoctions with plexiglass healed stilettoes that lit up once the lights were dimmed – channelling that aforementioned school disco attire, with a lick of couture elegance.

LVMH Prize winner Marine Serre takes a different approach with her fetish-esque AW19 collection. Morph suits plastered in the designer’s half-crescent lunar motif pierced the inky fog, whilst tiny lights placed beneath the eye, paired with the lasers beaming to each corner of the concrete show space, gave off the feeling of a rave. The Marine Serre women could have been on their way to Berghain, or a BDSM orgy – either way, they looked good doing it.

It’s not uncommon for the fashion discourse tends to become centred around political turmoil. In fraught political climate we live in, it seems a shift towards a brighter design outlook creates a sort of escapism from the bleak realities that suffocate our news feeds. In the broader fashion spectrum, moving away from the actual clothes in question, both Y/Project and Cottweiler completely shut off the lights at their latest menswear shows, prompting the crowd of spectators to raise their phone torches aloft to catch a glimpse at each shows finale. Were they merely markers of denunciation from our oversharing online? Or were they subliminal symbolic gestures in finding the light at the end of the tunnel? It all feeds into a common energy. The times might be dark, but the glow-up shades are making the world a brighter place. 

Catwalk photographs by Jason Lloyd Evans.