All the Beautiful Insanity Backstage at Charles Jeffrey Loverboy

Exclusive Fashion Unfiltered photography behind the scenes at London Fashion Week Men’s most wild and wonderful show

Stepping through the door to the backstage of Charles Jeffrey Loverboy’s Fall 2018 show at London Fashion Week Men’s felt like wandering into another dimension, or a Hieronymus Bosch triptych, like “The Garden of Earthly Delights,” with demonic priestesses and Macbethian witches. There was a girl with expansive black wings like some Azraelian angel, a man painted in blue and gold head to toe like the god of some ancient pagan religion, and wigs—oh grrl, were there wigs. As the band of fantastical impish characters howled and screamed down the runway, Charles Jeffrey stood watching his fusion of fashion and performance art unfold at the BFC show space. He cried. It was the most emotional thing I’ve ever experienced at any show ever. He was overcome, and who could blame him? His journey from Central Saint Martins to the most exciting show on the London fashion week calendar has been meteoric—he is also a beacon of the beauty of humanity, and watching his golden heart melt in that moment was life affirming. I’m not kidding, it really was that deep. After the show, speaking about the collection, his voice continued to break occasionally—overwhelmed, overjoyed. He explained the title of the show, “Tantrum,” which summed up both his extrospective look at his native Scotland, with his own quote at the top of the show notes, ““Anger is an Energy. And when I get angry, I get Scottish,” and also the narrative of the concept that gay pride is a myth. “I was inspired a lot by Alan Downs’ The Velvet Rage, which is about the pains of growing up gay in a heteronormative world, and the sort of aggressive flamboyance that gay men have had to use like a shield.” The graphics this season were particularly strong. “A lot of that was inspired by the Scottish Picts,” (We googled that—”an ancient Iron Age tribal confederation of people who occupied what is now Scotland,” #themoreyouknow). “All of the symbols and signs that we used were a kind of…anthrop…apotro…what’s that word that I learned?” asked Jeffrey, at which point that prince of fashion journalism, Tim Blanks, cut in—”Apotropaic! That word that Osman [Ahmed] came up with. He’s a cunning linguist.” Two plus two equals Ahmed wrote the show notes, which, by the way, almost made me cry. Jeffrey continued. “Yes! So that Apotropaic iconography was adorned on a lot of the clothes, because that’s my heritage. At times like this you have to be careful what you dip into and what you use for inspiration, but I know that those are part of my culture, my symbols and my signs that I can utilize, so I exploded them.” 

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