London Fashion Week ended with a walk on the wild side, courtesy of the "Monkeyana" show from A Child of the Jago. The brainchild of Agent Provocateur founder Joseph Corre and Simon "Barnzley" Armitage, the label takes its name from the eponymous book by Arthur Morrison. The venue, the A Child Of The Jago shop on Great Eastern Street shares the ominous Victorian physical environment described in the book.
A Child Of The Jago (the label) was conceived as a backlash against "the spiritual environment" of the world at present, specifically "the creatively corrupt homogeny represented by the menswear status quo". The press release goes on to lament "the attrition of craftsmanship since Britain's bygone days as an industrial power".
The title for the show was "Monkeyana", coined after Corre found a rather menacing print featuring two monkeys dressed in Victorian garb. The larger is depicted grabbing the smaller with one hand, a bundle of sticks clutched firmly in the other. Incidentally, the print found its way onto the cover of the show's program. It also popped up in the collection appearing on a series of neck scarves.
The front row fashionocracy quota was met (if not exceeded) with Mama Corre (aka Dame Vivienne Westwood) and her husband Andreas Konthraler (the brand's creative director) taking prime position. If the arrival of the Queen of Punk wasn't enough to get the flashbulbs and camera phones flashing, in slunk none other than Miss Janet Jackson. With style and pop icons comfortably seated, the show commenced, the sound of folk-rock echoing around the building's vast vaulted ceiling.
The show was produced by John Walford and Luke Foy and featured an army of beyond-scrumptious male models (unanimously agreed by pretty much everyone I spoke to) from AMCK, D1, Models 1, Select and Storm. Though it must be said, there was one female model whose finely sculpted sphinx-like features and gazelle-like limbs reminded me of that uber of 90's uber-models, Nadja Auermann.
Fashion politics aside, the clothes themselves were on the whole surprisingly wearable. Italian-style slouchy tailoring underpinned the wilder styling elements, such as the "op art" Bridget Riley-esque monochrome "dazzle" prints, initially designed to camouflage Navy vessels in World War I. Slouchy trousers and jackets draped in heavy tweeds and gangster-style frayed wool pinstripes were at odds with the homely Fair Isle knits and Native American Indian fringing and embroidery that adorned capes, hats, lapels and cuffs. The colour palette was equally eclectic, with murky olives, khaki, chocolate and grey punctuated by flashes of rich blue, burgundy, primary yellow and red.
Chemko & Co styled the models' hair, with styles falling into two camps, clean and groomed versus punk-grunge. The lead hair stylist described the latter "do" as Rockabilly meets Gangs Of New York. In human terms, this translates as heaps of Bumble & Bumble Thickening spray worked into the roots. To get the look, separate hair into sections with a comb, back-combing at the roots and spraying with thickening spray. Blast with a hot hair dryer, working fingers through the sections to create mega-volume and heaps of texture. Keep hair slick and clean at the sides and long on top (quiff), securing in place with plenty of L'Oreal Elnett hairspray.
The make-up for the show was sponsored by Illamasqua. Senior make-up artist Francesco created "bandit" make-up, inspired by the concept of gunpowder residue and soot left on a rebel's face whilst wearing a scarf to conceal his identity.
He and his team started by creating a flawless matt base on the models' skin, by working the Cream and Rich Liquid foundations in shade 210 into skin, before finishing with Powder Foundation in 210 (medium complexion with neutral undertones) for a super-matte finish. A darker bronze shade of Powder Foundation (320) was used to subtly contour and sculpt the face. The mask-like smokey eye effect was created by first creating a base with the smudgy black S.O.P.H.I.E. pencil, drawn close to lashes. The Blending Brush 2 was used to stipple a series of bruise-like Powder Eye Shadow shades around the eyes. Francesco and the team used Fallen (matte deep violet purple), Gimp (matte slate grey-black), Drama (matte deep slate grey), Incubus (matt deep charcoal grey) and Jules (matte warm milk chocolate) to create the look.
A special mention goes to the male model rocking the Frank N Furter Rocky Horror-style black glitter lips and orange false lashes (accessorised with black fishnet stockings and a peaked leather biker cap previously worn by Kate Moss). Anyone wanting to "get the look" can snap up Illamasqua's orange lashes (Number 12) and apply the black S.O.P.H.I.E pencil to their lips, finishing with a dusting of the Pure Pigment in Android (shimmering charcoal black) mixed with a little Sealing Gel.
Francesco suggested finishing the punk-glamour look with strong "power brows", using the angled Eye Brow Brush to work the Eye Brow Cake or Powder Eye Shadow (used wet) through the brows. To intensify the smokey eye look, he suggested mixing one of the darker pigments with Sealing Gel and drawing it close to the lashes like eye liner for extra definition and drama. Their hero matt deep scarlet lipstick in Box also gets a mention. Named after Illamasqua's artistic director, legendary make-up artist Alex Box, it's a one-shade-suits-all wonder that defies beauty trends. Take heed from Box herself and use the angled Eye Brow Brush as a lip brush, outlining the lips with the fine edge of the brush, before using the flat side to fill in the lips for a seamless scarlet pout.
Cream Foundation in 210 - £21
Rich Liquid Foundation in 210 - £21
Powder Foundation in 210 - £21
Powder Foundation in 320 - £21
S.O.P.H.I.E. Pencil - £12.50
Powder Eye Shadow in Gimp - £15
Powder Eye Shadow in Fallen - £15
Powder Eye Shadow in Drama - £15
Powder Eye Shadow in Incubus - £15
Powder Eye Shadow in Jules - £15
Pure Pigment in Android - £15
Sealing Gel - £10
Number 12 False Lashes - £12
Blending Brush 2 - £23
Eye Brow Brush - £18
Shop Illamasqua at:
Shop A Child Of The Jago at: