Richard Malone SS 2020 Show

September 16, 2019  22:57  |  Fashion

Richard Malone SS 2020 Show

Photos – Richard Malone archives ©

Those who have followed Richard Malone’s career and specifically, his interpretation of the vital ties to the women in his life, will be familiar with the immeasurable influence of his grandmother Nellie. Across a lifetime of uproarious, intimate discussion and creative collaboration with Nellie, Malone developed his unwavering approach to authenticity under her watchful eye and forthright guidance.

Losing her a few months ago has taken the designer to a place of creative refuge.

This body of work explores grief, honesty and change. A new spirit of poignancy and poetry to Malone’s handwriting sees him sculpt and shape something beautiful from the bleak. The intricate illustrated prints visible underneath many of these looks are taken from scraps of paper and old till receipts, across which Richard and Nellie sat together, talked and drew.

Richard Malone SS 2020 Show

The fight, resourcefulness and sense of overcoming which has defined Malone’s career is ever-present. It continues to serve as his nod to the under-represented – in this case specifically, working-class creatives without a seat at the table. Seamstresses, tailors, makers. It’s a conversation he had repeatedly with Nellie in the fast few months they had together – discussing the idea of the working class ‘taking up space’ and of rebellion through directing one’s own narrative. In collaboration with set designer Janina Pedan, an installation of sculpted forms in this afternoon’s show space explore these notions.

Richard Malone SS 2020 Show

In this work, across extraordinary hyper-constructed tailoring, shapes are extended and contorted by recycled wadding. Much of the fit-and-flare suiting seen here integrates Taroni silks from past collections’ production runs; offcuts in abstract shapes are given new life. Archive samples are reconstructed and refurbished, integrating handwoven linen and horsehair canvas into masterful new work which tells the story of Malone’s inherent respect for tailoring. Each piece was tailored and cut by Malone for his cast of female muses. The metalwork seen as jewellery, belts and bag straps was painstakingly made by hand by Malone – originating, literally, as a distraction from excruciating loss.

For the first time, evening-wear significantly anchors much of this proposition. Flowing full-length gowns with fastidious levels of detail demonstrate the designer’s masterful navigation of fabric weight and garment construction, with panels reconstructed from previous seasons discarded cutting scraps. He has a sculptor’s eye. (And indeed, has work included in the Irish Museum of Modern Art’s Desire exhibition opening later this week, where he’ll sit alongside Marcel Duchamp, Tracey Emin and Eddie Peake.)

Richard Malone SS 2020 Show

The real heartland of this label is a network of private clients who experience by-appointment, couture-level creation of custom pieces. As such, from this collection onward Malone consciously dispenses with the idea of seasonality. Collections will be named simply after the date on which they are presented – rendering the archive as precious, and as available, as the new.

The idea of ‘legacy’ takes on new, deeply personal meaning.

Dedicated to Nellie Malone.

STYLING – NELL KALONJI

CASTING – HOLLY CULLEN

HAIR – THE LONDON STYLE AGENCY/RICHARD PHILLIPART USING BABYLISS PRO

FOOTWEAR – RICHARD MALONE x MALONE SOULIERS

SOUNDTRACK – GOD COLONY

SET DESIGN – JANINA PEDAN

MAKE UP – PABLO RODRIGUEZ, ILLAMASQUA


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