As the traditional runway format’s existential crisis grows, London-based designer Christopher Shannon is the latest name to eschew the catwalk, instead choosing to present his FW18 collection via a new lookbook photographed by Elliot Kennedy.
“Free of the constant hassle of catwalk, I really just wanted to make the work I feel like making without any expectation,” the designer tells us. This refreshing approach has resulted in a series of imagery that focuses maximum attention on his latest offering.
“I wanted to create a collection that allowed me to work on the three things I like. Working on clean, sports-inspired products has always been the core of the brand but still wanting to do pieces that are completely singular to the season, ideas we work out on the body.”
Expanding on a previous footwear collaboration, this season saw the designer team-up with Hi-Tec for several technical pieces, including puffer jackets and the ultimate pair of cosy, knitted joggers.
In terms of inspiration, Shannon looked towards German photographer Peter Bialobrzeski – a lenser known for capturing landscapes that are in the middle of being recreated as a way of addressing our rapidly industrialising world. “I have a lot of books by Bialobrzeski and I’ve collected his work for years,” says Shannon. “I guess I felt like looking at something that isn’t fashion. He takes incredible images of temporary spaces, the opposite of luxury and I like the mixing of these clean pieces with the technical and more abstract work; the work I would make if I was at college. The work with no expected outcome.”
And that meeting point between luxury, casual and avant-garde is a place Shannon often occupies, pushing on each of those facets to create new boundaries between the three. Take last season, for example, when the Liverpool-born designer again abstained from the catwalk format, instead offering a presentation-slash-fragrance launch for his eponymous scent – brilliantly named Christopher Shannon Eau de Parfum. Inspired by his working-class Liverpudlian heritage and industrial Britain, and produced by the expert noses at Parisienne perfumers Verdúu, this Scouse/Parisian mix is surely the perfect metaphor for Shannon’s excellence.