On 15 September, the Beams played host to an off-schedule London Fashion Week show for Mowalola, the cult fashion label founded by Nigerian-born fashion designer Mowalola Ogunlesi.
The Central Saint Martins alumni has designed outfits for Skepta’s Pure Water music video and was appointed as Design Director for Yeezy Gap by Kanye West in 2020. Now one of the capital’s most progressive creative directors, she is known for her off-beat themes and unexpected use of materials. Think: leather, PVC and non-traditional silhouettes.
Nearly 1,000 guests gathered at the Beams, buzzing with anticipation for the designer's latest conversation-starting collection – the fourth one she has produced to date. Mowalola named the rather provocative collection ‘Crash’, after David Cronenberg’s 1995 erotic thriller. “I was really excited by the fetishization of pain through crashing,” the designer said. She hoped the clothing imagined “a whole universe that resides on the street.”
Supermodel Irina Shayk opened the show in a slinky, body-skimming, gunmetal grey gown, emerging from the car headlights which flooded the space. From there the show was a whirlwind of varied designs, taking the audience on a journey of moods. We saw dirtied, raw denim and smudged trousers, lots of skin (midriff exposing tops, NSFW Tees and a new definition of the term ‘mini skirt’) alongside unconventional beauty.
Crash was set to a mixtape full of hip-hop and industrial tracks, blending Kanye West’s ‘Monster’ into a rendition of Michael Jackson’s ‘Smooth Criminal’. Indeed, Ye was at this show, sat on the front row with his wife Bianca Censori. He debuted some new music whilst he was at it.
Space One was transformed into an industrial catwalk, with a runway that stretched the full-length of the room, making use of the the Beams' blackout capabilities to create a dark and dramatic mood – perfectly aligned with the designer's vision.
Mowalola’s SS24 collection was a reminder that fashion is a canvas, and what better canvas to showcase such a collection than the Beams, London’s centre for new culture.