Louise Gray's quirky QR codes at London Fashion Week AW 2012
Louise Gray's catwalk show is always a fun fixture of London Fashion Week, and it wasn't long before the Scottish designer was trending on Twitter. Gray sits firmly on the maximalist side of fashion; every collection is a surprise and choc full of ideas and influences to unpack.
Before the show even started the atmosphere was set with champers and haggis toasties for the waiting audience, QR code invites gave a little clue of what was to come. The front row included fellow designer and friend Henry Holland, Central St Martin's Louise Wilson and the Herald Tribune's Suzy Menkes.
Gray livened up the crowd with pumping house anthems like Work It Girlfriend and Get Your Hands Off My Man, just the thing make everyone forget their Sunday London Fashion Week slump.
The soundtrack may have been 90s but the collection harked back to a decade earlier. Gray mixed a range of 80s influences, there was definitely a punky, New Wave feel with the stripy blusher and Nazir Mahzar's mohican millinery, but there were also elements of sleek power-dressing coming through in the dresses and tailoring, a bit Working Girl meets Poly Styrene.
Overall the feel was more hard-edged than with previous collections; polka dots usually crop up somewhere in a Louise Gray show, but this season was all about graphic prints and tesselated shapes. With the darker mood for Autumn Gray took QR codes as a starting point and created prints which appeared on her trademark knee-high boots, dresses and quirky two-piece skirt suits.
Jean-Michel Basquiat style scribbles and messy screen-prints reinforced the post-punk DIY aesthetic, mixed with metallics and ikat it made for an eclectic but ultimately pulled-together look. Louise Gray loves a bra top and this season she added a bubble wrap bralet which gave a DIY feel to her more ladylike outfits.
Beginning to take apart the many layers that make up Gray's collection is half the fun, pieces like the screen siren draped silver beaded dress, the sharp sculptural coats and the multi knits peeking through tunics and tops definitely demand further investigation.