Ashish's FW18 Show Makes Us Question Everything

Ashish's FW18 Show Makes Us Question Everything

A look at last night's whimsical show.

A look at last night's whimsical show.

Text: MATHIAS ROSENZWEIG

We live in confusing times. In case you’d momentarily forgotten, go no further than Ashish’s FW2018 show last night in London, where high met low, tacky greeted tasteful, and sophistication rubbed shoulders with delusional whimsicality. Sure, blurring the line between high fashion and streetwear is hardly novel. But designer Ashish Gupta’s take on duality is powerful enough to make you redefine what these words even meant in the first place.

Styled by Anna Trevelyan, the show featured an eccentric cast of models strutting tinsel-ladened dresses and jumpsuits, shiny as all hell, generally of Ashish’s signature rainbow motifs. The designer noted after the show that the tinsels are typical of street style at the moment in India, where he’s from. The rainbows were a nod to queer culture—Ashish has noted that in many ways, it’s still illegal to be gay in his home country.

While there weren’t any blatant political statements this time around (previously, Ashish’s collections have featured glorious anti-Trump sentiments), there was an interesting dialogue around American capitalism, or perhaps that of the Western world as a whole. Sweatshirts featuring credit card logos displayed Ashish’s flair for wordplay—MasterCard became “Masturbate,” American Express turned into “American Excess,” and Visa, now “Viva (L’Amore).” Ashish noted that he himself worked at a clothing factory in Delhi as a child—he saw a pattern he'd helped make during a trip to a vintage store recently, triggering nostalgia of his childhood but placed in today’s context.

As present as the designer’s commentary on commercialism was his apparent love for disco, which we’ve seen at Ashish shows before. Models adorned in sequined outfits and topped off with big hair strutted to a version of ABBA’s “Super Trouper” sung in Hindi. A red jumpsuit with easy-breezy flared pants paired with a set of large aviator sunglasses in a matching hue made for a particularly retro look. Many of the pieces appeared as if they came from small shops at a low-end night market; the set, by the way, was designed to mimic such bazaars. But knowing Ashish’s impeccable taste forced me to rethink what looks cheap, what looks great, and whether the difference between the two really matters.

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