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Masterclass from Malone delivers high-class tailoring for eco-conscious who crave style

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Stylish and sustainable: Richard Malone’s creativity goes on display on the catwalk during London Style Week. Photos: Aaron Chown/PA Wire

Stylish and sustainable: Richard Malone’s creativity goes on display on the catwalk during London Style Week. Photos: Aaron Chown/PA Wire

PA

Stylish and sustainable: Richard Malone’s creativity goes on display on the catwalk during London Style Week. Photos: Aaron Chown/PA Wire

Stylish and sustainable: Richard Malone’s creativity goes on display on the catwalk during London Style Week. Photos: Aaron Chown/PA Wire

PA

Stylish and sustainable: Richard Malone’s creativity goes on display on the catwalk during London Style Week. Photos: Aaron Chown/PA Wire

Stylish and sustainable: Richard Malone’s creativity goes on display on the catwalk during London Style Week. Photos: Aaron Chown/PA Wire

PA

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Stylish and sustainable: Richard Malone’s creativity goes on display on the catwalk during London Style Week. Photos: Aaron Chown/PA Wire

Innovative Irish designer Richard Malone never fails to surprise - and he gave the opening day of London Fashion Week a masterclass in contemporary tailoring.

Extrapolated and manipulated, fit and flare suiting with abstract layers, kick flare trousers and bracing angles delivered Malone's intention to redirect codes and unchain old ideas.

AW20 sees the introduction of leather, a new element for Malone who worked from vintage offcuts donated to his studio in Seven Sisters in London.

The Wexford-born designer pieced them together in a compelling patchwork, achieving razor-sharp leathers and belted coats which are available as "one of one" pieces to order.

Malone counts Beyoncé and Bjork as private clients. His afternoon show on the Strand will only consolidate his reputation for glorious fabrications, in particular, his "determined, never passive" evening gowns.

The show opened to strains of Nina Simone with a custom track reworked by the God Colony and the designer sent out clothes that forced the fashion pack to rethink lines across a woman's body, from the breast plate and hip bones to erogenous zones.

He closed with wondrous, dramatically sculpted evening pieces with flying buttress sides. In between, we ate up his wool story, especially the cabled knitwear in denimy, inky blues.

The 28-year-old is passionate about sustainability and uses plant-based, biodegradable dyes.

Malone works in naturally dyed, hand-woven wool twill weave, recycled econyl and upcycled, hand-embroidered felt. Most exotic of all perhaps was the green cropped sweater, the colour achieved with wedelia, a dye fortified with the juice of lotus leaves and slaked lime which is formed from sea shells.

While the leathers and sculpted dresses were obvious showstoppers, the beautiful merino wool pieces handcrafted by artisanal knitter Nessa Ryan - imbued with unexpected apertures - brought another charming element to the show.

Malone said the key message from his AW20 collection is "sustainable fashion should not be judged or separated from regular fashion".

"It should be of a really high, exceptional standard. It should be really exciting and something worthy of being in a museum, be functional and worn by brilliant women.

"It is not about product design; it is about real clothes and it takes people back to tailoring and dress-making and the craft of making something."

At its heart, the collection, he says, is about "an assertiveness" he considers essential for womenswear and a responsibility he sees as non-negotiable within design.

Irish Independent