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Ballgowns, bare bums and a shit tonne of lasers. Edward Crutchley wasn’t sheepish when it came to his return to the catwalk. Submerged in a concrete pit buried beneath Essex Road, North London, beams of purple and blue made it feel like an underground club in Berlin. Then, in an instance, things went from Berghain to Bridgerton, as period style frocks with scooping necklines, brushed mohair “club kid” cardigans and glittery, oversized twin-sets sauntered to a medieval rendition of Lil Nas X’s Montero (“Call Me By Your Name)”, and later, “Candy Shop” by 50 Cent.

The collection was a riotous parade of glamour through the ages. Not a single idea, nor bound to a specific space in time. In his show notes, Crutchley shared a reading list of inspirations, which included Men in Women’s Clothing – Anti-theatricality and Effeminisation by Laura Levine and Ages of Elegance – Five Thousand Years of Fashion and Frivolity by Gisele d’Assailly and Georges Lang. The designer worked with The London Embroidery Studio to create sequin leaf motifs across roomy knits, and Knit-Up – a Hong Kong-based knitwear design platform – to create luscious jacquareds. His references stretched far and wide. Whether it be Nora Batty – a fan favourite from BBC sitcom Last of the Summer Wine – who was the vision behind a print organic silk housecoat. Or queer, East London ravers, whose hedonistic DNA was sewn into a hand-rhinestoned broccato leotard, paired with chunky Mary-Janes designed with Roker. No wonder Kim Jones snatched Crutchley up to be a consultant for Dior Men’s when he joined the house in 2018. This is epic fashion in its most fabulous form.

Photography by Chris Yates.