LONDON — Professor Jimmy Choo’s London Fashion Academy made its debut fashion show, showcasing its designer in residence Patrick McDowell’s first collection, as well as its M.A. students’ collections.
The show took place at the JCA’s campus on Hanover Square in central London, opposite a green park that’s within walking distance of the Condé Nast offices and London’s luxury shopping destination, Bond Street.
Footwear designer and cofounder of JCA, Choo stressed the importance of passing on a skill to younger generations, practicing through his London Fashion Academy what his father always told him: “When you have a skill you need to pass it on.”
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McDowell’s collection was called “Marie Antoinette Goes to Liverpool,” which perfectly summed up the garments on the runway, inspired by his visits to Versailles and Liverpool two years ago.
“If Marie Antoinette managed to escape the guillotine, and lived the rest of her life in Liverpool, this would be it,” said McDowell backstage.
He merged Marie Antoinette’s style characteristics of corsetry, bows and puffy sleeves with contemporary Liverpudlian style, featuring tracksuits with basqued waists, bedazzled soccer trainers and a hoodie combining the brand’s PX logo with the French queen’s famous quote “Let them eat cake.”
According to McDowell, Liverpool and Marie Antoinette connect through the “matriarchal” element they share. He translated this with children walking the runway.
His fabric prints were made from recycled and sustainable materials in collaboration with Tencel. Some pieces featured pictures of McDowell as a young boy, plus images of his mother and grandmother.
The designer said he connects with Marie Antoinette on a deeper level. He finds her character to be part of “a queer representation,” one where he and others can reimagine where they came from by putting on “rose-tinted glasses.”
Stephen Smith, CEO and cofounder of JCA London Fashion Academy, noted how “wonderful” the show was and although it’s their first show, “It will be the first of many wonderful shows,” Smith said.