Christopher Shannon FW16 Preview: VHS tapes, suburban heroes and ballet on the brain – plus Judy Blame?
By Lewis Firth | Fashion | 9 January 2016
Photography Leni Sinclair
This article is part of Fashion Week – London, Milan, Paris, NYC

Considered nuances to blatant, conspicuous detailing, Shannon is known for his reimagining of working-class trophies and reforming them into hyper-masculine, commercial oddities. SS16, for example, embodied the hedonistic pilgrimages to destinations like ‘Shagaluf’, with fluorescent whistles and zippo lighters punctuating the gear. This season, Shannon tells us he’s taking nostalgic adolescent memories of a pre-digital age to a new level.

Christopher Shannon FW16

“I had this clip in mind of this old, VHS footage of the suburbs where I grew up, focusing on how kind of unassuming but creepy it was with double-glazing and net curtains,” Shannon explained, referring to the starting point of his FW16 collection. “I’m quite fascinated by how I was so repulsed by suburbia as a child and now I crave a certain stability and normality that it represents.

I was thinking primarily about suburban heroes from when I was a kid. People who were into their clothes really stood out, like the boyfriends of babysitters I would have, or when someone would come back from a holiday with something totally unfindable in Liverpool – that sort of excitement  and showiness. But that doesn’t happen anymore: you just shop online for Prada, or buy a fake on eBay or a high-street copy – it’s everything if you want the “look for less”.
I’m really craving pre-Internet times when the high-street was awful and people didn’t just mindlessly consume clothes. Everything looks like fashion but the clothes aren’t very interesting, or if they are, it’s someone’s interesting idea from a decade ago.
Judy Blame, who worked with us last season, has just done a set of limited accessories for our online store (inspired by the SS16 catwalk ones), which launched just before Christmas. I always love working with Judy, so maybe he’ll be involved again this season. Same goes for Leslie Winer – there’s something I’d like her to help with this season but I’m yet to ask. She’s brilliant for sending me some music that helps focus the mood of the show – I love her input.
Working with the Northern Ballet Company inspired me massively. Linder [Sterling] really cemented my decision to show in a gallery rather than a catwalk space. I love catwalk but I wanted a season to see the work in a different way. I’d started to feel quite formulaic and I really loathe that sensation. Working on rehearsals for the ballet made me see the work in a new way and I wanted to explore that. I’m not going to do anything with movement but it made me want a change. I think the whole industry is in such a state of flux and everyone’s exhausted by it.”

Christopher Shannon presents his FW16 collection on Saturday 9th January. Stay tuned to HERO for full, fashion-week coverage from London, Milan, Paris and New York.

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