Matty Bovan 2021 FW LFW “ODYSSEY”
“Odyssey” of Matty Bovan Fall Winter 2021 collection is presented in 3 stages at the London Fashion Week digital program:
The opening suite – we are introduced to our characters at sea, radiating light, garments feature thousands of Swarovski upcycled crystals threaded into belts becoming skirts, chains becoming full tops incorporating
jewelled pieces by Plum Bovan. Custom handmade sustainable sequins feature in five looks, all hand-crocheted individually on crochet nets, and hand crushed to give multi-dimensional light.
The shapes are the most abstract of the whole collection, pushing the boundaries of the traditional silhouette, as if the bodies are in a permanent state of flux on a turbulent ship. Cutler and Gross sunglasses, hand-embellished with Swarovski upcycled crystal, are styled upside down, reflecting light back to us, the viewer, heads are also obscured by hand-crocheted sequinned hats, again allowing the whole body to reflect the light above waves.
The middle suite is where we follow the characters beneath the waves during a storm – slipping in and out of consciousness – warping and distorting. Proportions are pushed more, green heavy waders reach the top of the thigh, jewellery starts to increase and become larger on belts and around necks, talismans amongst the crew.
Reworked vintage fisherman prints and texts are custom woven in Merino wool in Yorkshire, (these garments created as part of the designer’s submission for the International Woolmark Prize, for which he is a finalist),
then cut into zip up dresses. The colours increase in intensity, hand-dyed Merino wool fur (also part of the International Woolmark Prize), Liberty florals combined becoming more dizzying through collision of prints,
Swarovski upcycled crystal seeps into the jewellery and fabrics, entering more light into the dark. We witness our cast starting to experience altered states and visions amongst the cyclonic storm.
The final suite of looks, The Light, is where the characters are brought to the surface. We enter a state of reality, after the period under the waves, against a dark and stormy seascape. These looks explore the more utilitarian garments: Nelson’s naval jacket is reimagined in denim created in-house using ISKOTM Denim, with its lapel and cuffs decorated with tin lids, hand punched and painted into giant buttons, while long fisherman’s aprons in canvas and Merino wool are hand-painted alongside utilitarian waterproof waxed coated cotton dresses and tailored jackets. A draped black and white Merino jumper, as if windswept, has ghostly figures skimming below its surface, worn with jeans unbuttoned to become a skirt, a collaboration with HIUT Denim Co, made in Wales, using HIUT Denim waste and featuring a bespoke Matty Bovan leather patch. Scaled up Aran and cable knitting become long skirts, and twisted dresses – all the yarn hand-dyed in house and then knitted locally in York, and then hand painted to look as if wax rubbings of traditional knitting, an echo.
“Key inspiration this season is the power of the sea and its elemental and destructive nature. I imagined a three-part story, based around a set of characters at sea, crossing time spans, ghosts from different eras colliding under the waves.
“‘Odyssey’ is ultimately about humanity’s constant survival against external forces, and a battle with reality. The characters are swept away in a cycle of extreme events, and whether this cycle ever ends or just continues,