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LFW Interview: Jack Irving, Luke Anthony Rooney & Timothy Bouyez-Forge at On|Off

By Vivian Hendriksz



London - At the top of the OxO Tower Wharf, in an industrial looking space, three emerging designers came together to showcase their latest AW17 collections on-schedule during On|Off bi-annual London Fashion Week catwalk showcase. London-based designer Luke Anthony Rooney; fashionable costume designer and artist Jack Irving; and Royal College of Art graduate Timothy Bouyez-Forge; were the three chosen designers to show this season. FashionUnited caught up with the three designers following their catwalk shows to learn more about their designs, inspirations and thoughts at showing at On|Off.

Jack Irving: "I’m obsessed with Showgirls"

"I was absolutely ecstatic to be asked. It was a big dream come true really," said Jack Irving on showing at On|Off. "I’d always dreamed of showing with On|Off and at London Fashion Week and I’m so thrilled everyone got behind me and believed in the craziness." A Central Saint Martins graduate, Irving opened his own studio in London in 2014, where he creates collections of "wearable art". Inspired by his love of the theatre and performance, he has had the honour of dressing the likes of Lady Gaga and creating costumes for the X Factor. His main source of inspiration for his collection "Alien Showgirls" is a combination of three times. "I’m obsessed with Showgirls with their huge feathers and headdresses, so I looked a lot at old brochures from the Moulin Rouge in the 1970s and the The Lido in Paris," he explained.

"I collided this for my love with sic-fi comics like Wonderwoman and movies like Barbarella to create this vision of these futuristic alien space showgirls. I’m also mesmerised by sea creatures and drew my main inspiration from this for the ‘alien’ part of my aesthetic for the collection. Every collection I do, I always try and design with the ‘showgirl’ in mind and create a different aesthetic for her each year. My reason for this was mainly because everything happening in the world right now is all a bit crazy and glum, it was about creating a show and performance which takes them on a fantasy away from our current reality." The resulting collection, which included sci-fi mini dresses and bodysuits with intricate corsets crafted from holographic fabrics, complete with inflatable detailing and sparkly headdresses. Irving admits that his favourite look from the collection is the third look, complete with matching thigh high boots, as it was his first time designing boots.

He also reveals that he was slightly afraid that not all his designs would fit on the catwalk. "The biggest issue was the technicalities of my pieces, as my biggest was 4.5 meters wide and making sure that fitted on the catwalk," the massive inflatable alien, sea urchin did in fact fit on the catwalk, even if its spikes did end up brushing against the ceiling. "[Showing at On|Off] has been the most incredible experience and I'm so thrilled," added Irving. "The support from Lee and all the team has been amazing. My ideas for both the show and the presentation were quite crazy from the start and I almost expected some of my ideas to be not allowed. But instead my crazy ideas were nurtured and celebrated and the support was given to help bring them all to life."

Luke Anthony Rooney: "I have always been a magpie and attracted to the bright and sparkly"

"I felt honoured to be showing under such a pioneering umbrella such as On|Off Presents who really care first and foremost for their designers ," said Luke Anthony Rooney after shown. "And I have really felt that!" As a London-based womenswear designer, Rooney has never been one to shy away from using vibrant colours and patterns in his designs, and enjoys using different textures and textiles to create unique and fantastical looks. He was originally inspired to pursue a career in womens fashion after realiing his love for women's clothing, which ranges from old screen goddesses looks to the 1990s supermodels style. "I always loved the way clothes could make women look and feel." For his Autumn/Winter 2017 collection Rooney says he was inspired by the film 'His Girl Friday.' "A film called 'His Girl Friday' was the jumping off point for the collection, which features Rossalind Russell wearing wonderfully cut clothes. Suits covered with stripes running in different directions was something I found really intriguing, and led me to thinking about different ways of displaying stripes such as painted brush strokes, panelled stripes and so on."

This resulting in a collection featuring bold and colourful stripes on pale backdrops, knits layered under silp dresses and structured trousers paired with cropped fitted tops. "I have always been a magpie and attracted to the bright and sparkly," admitted Rooney. "However this season my style has evolved. I cut dresses and tops on the bias so they cling to a woman's body, rather than a boxy cut. I wanted my girl to look strong and sophisticated." Rooney noted that he feels as if he really managed to elevate the cut and fit of his designs this season, and pushed himself to work outside of his comfort zone. "I think the bias slip dress with the brush stroke print was something completely new for me and worked successfully." Overall, Rooney added that he has nothing negative to say at all about his experience showing at On|Off. "It's so nice to show under people with so much knowledge who you feel really believe in you. To have the support of On|Off makes me feel very lucky as you can just feel how supportive they are which is really special."

Timothy Bouyez-Forge: "To create recomposed fragmentation of perceptions"

"I felt both happy and worried," said women's wear designer Timothy Bouyez-Forge on how he felt when he first heard he would be showing at On|Off once more. A second time shower at On|Off, Bouyez-Forge a recent graduate of the Royal College of Art, grew up between Paris and London and has been influenced by numerous art movements, as well as industrial design and virtual reality. This season round, he aimed to create a collection which was both "true and developed against the enemy that is time", no mean feat. Inspired by our "recomposed fragmentation of perceptions," he looked the current world's situations for his collections main influences. "It is about taking moments taking place in our society and recomposing them into a narrative that lies parallel to our own, similar but different." This resulted in a collection featuring undone workwear, utilitarian feeling shift dresses featuring watchful-eyes and metallic wrapped-styled tunics.

"The first look was my favourite - the orange matching trouser and jacket spray painted in silver - to me it said what the collection was about and set the tone for the rest," he added.

Photos: Courtesy of Co-Lab, On|Off

Jack Irving
London Fashion Week
Luke Anthony Rooney
On Off
Timothy Bouyez-Forge