#SuzyLFW: Anya Hindmarch’s Symphony of Suburbia
Irony and fashion do not always make good partners; what might seem witty to some can feel awkward to others.
And so it was for Anya Hindmarch’s “Symphony of Suburbia” – the name she gave to her latest collection.
The big house that she built as the set for her show was likely to provoke unease in a city where the younger generation is priced out of buying a home of their own, even if it is a one-bedroom apartment, rather than a two-up-two-down house.
The same feeling might arise with handbags – a Hindmarch forte. As the prices for these also rise beyond most people’s pay packets, jokey pictures of cats or budgies might seem to be in dubious taste, too.
But of course, you can look at the show from a different angle, finding humour and fun in the squishy bags in proportions the designer described as “cartoonish”. There were ripe cherries drawn on a plastic front – plastic being the material of this fashion moment. Transparent clothes were as much fun as housecoats made out of towelling.
The nerdy young women in their flower-panelled coats and fluffy shoes seemed far away from competitive neighbours and gossiping wives traditional to suburbia. But the real story here is that creators of imaginative handbags get much more traction during the Fashion Week seasons than accessory houses. After all, look at the history of Gucci and Prada!
Anya Hindmarch has attracted customers with her witty spirit and the fact that customers can buy attachments to personalise their bags. On the runway it was hard to know whether a pair of lovebirds – fluffy creatures with moulting feathers – could be removed from their sporty net bag, or what a squishy tote with dangling dog biscuit represented.
Anya Hindmarch bags are fun, and this season had a dollop of irony. The clothes, in their deliberately tasteless colours and shapes, served as a striking backdrop. When or where anyone wears these garments – as opposed to the handbags that are sold across the world – is one of fashion’s mysteries.