Since the launch of his e-commerce site, Jeffrey said he really enjoys crunching sales data to understand what his customers really want.
Charles Jeffrey looked straight into the darkness for his latest collection. “It’s a moment of reflection and accepting the fact that … sometimes you have these sh—y feelings,” he said.
From a moment to a movement – a manifesto in fractured images
This manifesto is written in invisible ink, this prose-poem will explode. Burnt brushstrokes on your back, silver frogging trailing ties, knitted knots of gestural abstraction. A gaudy visage in the gloom. Let’s nail this jelly to the wall. Catch “a breath before taking a jump”.
Gloom is about stillness, the stillness of an Irving Penn portrait, of a daguerreotype, of a vanitas painting: the fruit is rotting and everyone aches from holding a pose, but in this anticipation there is excitement. The moment before ‘curtain up’ is stretched out, suspended, pregnant with potential.
In this stillness there is also movement. Garments are assembled to suggest a tumbling of fabric, an unravelling, a coming undone: they are perpetually on the brink of dissolving before one’s eyes. A threadbare tartan, elevated through impoverishment, is fragile, translucent, ghostly and vivid. The Corbusian façade reveals disorder within.
AUTUMN/WINTER 2021 ‘GLOOM’
If LOVERBOY last collection was about optimism and trying to be positive, his AW21 offering is about the pandemic hitting home.
“I wanted to communicate the darkness we are all feeling,” he said. He’d done research into Dr Seuss’s midnight paintings – “which are in stark contrast to the optimistic stories he’s famous for” said the designer who’d also developed a David Lynch obsession and become fascinated by Louis Bourgeois works in fabric.
That coupled with the groundhog grind of lockdown, led him to explore the more anxious and troubling corners of the psyche and showcase a sense of vulnerability alongside his signature proud defiance. He usually takes prints and knit patterns from his own vivid paintings, but this time, stills from a teaser film by Thurston Redding film featuring the dancer Kate Coin, were printed onto the outerwear silks and shirts.
For AW21, his Loverboy tartan was pushed to the extremes of durability with a PU coating, giving it a leather-like appearance. Then it was pushed to extremes of fragility with threads dissolved into a fine fringe. “Fabric and texture carry identity,” says the designer, pointing out that fabrics can be patched. He tied that in with the idea of “repairing broken emotions,” which was at the forefront of his mind as we exit lockdown.
His brand was born in the Dalston club Vogue Fabrics, but clubs have been closed for over a year now. A typical lockdown Friday or Saturday night for the designer is spent sitting at home with his boyfriend and playing with make-up. “I keep thinking about how healing it is to be in a room full of people all dancing to one song,” he says. Just as clubs like Vogue Fabrics perform a vital social function, by making space for people in the queer community, so Jeffrey wants his brand to be about building a space and lifting people up. Loverboy in the 2020s will be a Warholian hotbed, built on collaboration and a sense of family, with artists in residence and its own sense of community. Out of the darkness, into the light.
Creative director – Charles Jeffrey (@mrcharlesjeffrey)
Photographer – Thurstan Redding (@thurstanredding)
Styling – Matthew Josephs (@matthew_josephs)
Make-up – Lucy Bridge (@lucyjbridge) for M.A.C Pro (@maccosmetics)
Hair – Eugene Souleiman (@eugenesouleiman)
Set – Andrew Lim Clarkson (@andrewlimclarkson)
Casting – Madeleine Østile & Aamo Casting at CLM (@aamo_casting)
Footwear – Sponsored bv Dr Martens (@drmartensofficial)
Footwear Customisation – Natacha Marro (@natachamarro)
Art Jewellery – Andrew Logan (@andrewlogangallery)
Movement Direction – Kate Coyne (@katecoyne68)
Models (in order of appearance) – Jasper Leigh (@jasperleigh_), Lotte O’Rourke (@lottepottehotte),
Qi Han (@q.qihan), James Potter (@waltdisco), Linnea Skoglosa (@linneaskoglosa),
Omolola Onasanya (@omogirl__), Luke Magill (@whitetrashtray);
Final Image also features Niall Underwood (@niallunderwood).